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Students learn from peers about internships

Rebecca Harris | March 2, 2017

Elizabeth Cotter (This image shows a headshot of student Elizabeth Cotter)
Elizabeth Cotter (This image shows a headshot of student Elizabeth Cotter)

Three veteran IUPUI Department of Journalism and Public Relations students were front and center at an internship panel Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2017, sharing their internship journeys and experiences.

Seniors Keegan Rammel, Elizabeth Cotter and Diamond Nunnally discussed a wide variety of opportunities. Rammel has worked with and interned for the Campus Citizen, NUVO, and Indianapolis Monthly. Cotter is the sports editor of the Campus Citizen, participated in the IU Presidential Internship program, and was an intern for WANE-TV in Fort Wayne. Nunnally also works for the Campus Citizen and completed an internship at WISH-TV 8 this past fall.

The students advised attendees about the importance of making connections through internships. Adding professionals you work with to LinkedIn, making the most of downtime during the internship, and taking initiative were all mentioned.

“Working with the journalists themselves was invaluable because of all the tips they offered,” Rammel said. “Build yourself a massive web, like octopus arms.”

Cotter said she would talk with reporters on her way to covering events. “You’re sitting in the car going to a story; that’s a perfect opportunity to pick their brain,” she said. Cotter later added that she regretted not talking to more producers at the station. She said she had been too worried about bothering them.

Other key points were going above and beyond your basic duties at an internship and being eager to learn.

“If you’re not doing anything, find something to do,” Nunnally said. “I got to do the teleprompter one day, for example.” Nunnally said she also made sure to seek advice from reporters on clips she had put together during her internship.

Rammel and Cotter both mentioned that honesty is the best policy. If you are confused or need help at your internship, ask.

“Be honest with your editors and with yourself,” Rammel said.

As far as embracing the learning curve, “be realistic with how long things take,” said Cotter.

Finally, all three students stressed the importance of being diligent in the classroom and taking advantage of opportunities when they present themselves. Rammel and Cotter both said students can make important connections by asking questions or introducing themselves when guest speakers give a lecture in a class.

Students in the Department of Journalism and Public Relations must complete a media internship as part of their degree requirements, said Emily Turnier, director of outreach and career services. Turnier is available to help students with résumés, cover letters and mock interviews. Department chair Jonas Bjork said that even though they might “sound like parents” at times, he and Turnier monitor internship possibilities to be sure students are enjoying beneficial experiences and are not being taken advantage of.

Missed the panel? Follow Cotter, Nunnally and Rammel on Twitter (@ekcotter18, @diamondsamone and @keeganrammel), and contact Emily Turnier at eturnier@iupui.edu to make an appointment to start your own professional journey.