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  • Aly Seidel-Thorn 1:31 pm on August 12, 2013 Permalink
    Tags: , , journalism, , , , , , work wear   

    What to Wear? 

    My supervisor wears polo shirts, the VP of my department wears dresses, and one of the other interns wears ball caps. It can be near impossible to understand the “business casual” look, especially for women. How short can your skirt be? How high is too high of a heel? It’s 90 degrees out, do I seriously have to wear a bolero with this dress? Here are a few tips on how to navigate that tricky professional work wear.

    (More …)

    • Julia Beyer 7:06 pm on August 27, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Thanks for your tips, Aly. I am including a link to this in the SOC Spot Newsletter.

  • Aly Seidel-Thorn 1:09 pm on August 12, 2013 Permalink
    Tags: asking for new assignments, asking your supervisor, , , , journalism, , news department, news station, overcoming shyness, shy, social anxiety   

    Shy? Speaking Up At Your Internship 

    very_shy_person_xlargeI’m a naturally shy person.

    People don’t believe me when I tell them that. I can talk to anyone. That doesn’t mean I like it. A firm believer in the fake-it-till-you-make-it ideology, I can strike up a conversation with strangers about anything, despite my intense anxiety.

    For the first few weeks of my internship, this anxiety did not serve me well. It took me about a month to work up the courage to go stick my head into other departments and start talking to people. Once I did, I couldn’t stop: I was constantly asking for the assignments I was really interested in, the things I was most looking forward to doing at a news station, and I was rarely turned down.

    Now, as my internship is starting to wind down, I regret sitting at my desk for so long. In the height of summer here, I started to work up the courage to ask for extra assignments, the ones I really wanted, and – lo and behold, my help was both wanted and needed. I started shooting behind the scenes footage of Good Day, I was able to attend the meetings I wanted to go to, I became friendlier with the producers and cast, and even ended up going on air. None of that would have been possible if I had stuck to my desk and done my job, only my job, and nothing more than my job.

    You can be certain that at least one person you work with was an intern once. You can be certain that you are not the first intern to walk through those doors. We loves to make fun of interns and act as if they do nothing but fetch coffee all day (ala The Devil Wears Prada), but that isn’t reality. Most people you will come across are going to appreciate your work.

    If there’s something else you want to do: ask. You’ll be surprised how easy it is. Nobody will ever know that you are interested unless you speak up. A supervisor in another department was shocked when I mentioned editing- “I didn’t know you were interested!”- and then set me up in a booth that day.

    It’s a cliché to say it, but it’s true:  the worst thing they can say is ‘no’. And if they do? You’re going to be out of there in a few months anyway and on to a new workplace that respects your talents a little bit better.

    photo via sodahead

    • Julia Beyer 7:09 pm on August 27, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Great points. I think this is something that we can all relate to. I am also including this in the SOC Spot newsletter.

  • Aly Seidel-Thorn 2:23 pm on August 6, 2013 Permalink
    Tags: , american university financial aid, american university scholarships, financial aid, , , good day philadelphia, , journalism,   

    Repping AU! 

    asdfawer (2)AU doesn’t have a small price tag. Ranked as the second most expensive school in the country, it takes a pretty big chunk of change to attend our school. However, AU isn’t oblivious to this fact: over 80% of incoming freshman received financial aid and distributes almost $75 million to students. I’m a Frederick Douglass Scholarship recipient, and that money really helps me be able to attend AU.

    So what does this have to do with my internship? Today on Good Day Philadelphia, we had a segment on universities and scholarships. A financial expert came in and talked about all the ways that parents can find “hidden money” for their students. On top of that, I was asked to come on the show and talk about my experience as a student! I wore my AU hoodie and spoke about the advisors we have who can help you navigate the financial aid maze. Probably not my best television debut (should have worn my contacts to get rid of glasses glare!), but it was a lot of fun and I’m glad I was able to represent our school. Everyone knows college is expensive, but there are ways to make it a little more bearable.

  • Aly Seidel-Thorn 1:56 pm on July 25, 2013 Permalink
    Tags: finances, funding an unpaid internship, , journailsm internship, journalism, , , surviving an unpaid internship,   

    , Financially Surviving an Unpaid Internship 

    I am fortunate enough that I have two jobs this summer: my unpaid internship and a paying part-time job. While I might be drinking a little too much coffee, my part-time job allows me a little more financial stability. For those of us who are working the unpaid gauntlet, here are a few tips on surviving the summer.

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  • Aly Seidel-Thorn 1:25 pm on July 25, 2013 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , journalism, , news room   

    Why Bring Lunch to Work? 


    In some workplaces, there’s free coffee in the break room. Every once in a while, it’ll be Bob’s birthday or Janice’s retirement and you’ll be treated to some cake. Maybe your employer even springs for bagels on Friday mornings.

    At my internship? There’s always food in the newsroom.

    One of the first things I learned working for a major news network is that people love the free publicity that comes from a camera. On our morning show, Good Day Philadelphia, people are constantly sending in treats, just because our talent may give them a ten second shout out on air. If we run a package with any type of business, you can be certain that there will be goodies waiting in the newsroom. Interviewed a local bakery about their award-winning cupcakes? Expect four dozen of them in the newsroom. Traveled down to the Jersey shore to do a segment on their recovery from Hurricane Sandy? You’ll be traveling back with four pounds of saltwater taffy.

    In my weeks of working for FOX 29, I’m first to know about breaking news, I’m on first-name basis with local celebrities, and I’ve held a ball python. But one of my favorite parts of the day will always be heading up to the newsroom to scope out local cuisine.

  • Zach C. Cohen 5:24 am on July 5, 2013 Permalink
    Tags: coding, , , IT, journalism, , , web   

    ‘Are you studying IT?’ 

    Rough draft of my most recent story for PBS Idea Lab, complete with handwritten HTML

    Rough draft of my most recent story for PBS Idea Lab, complete with handwritten HTML

    That’s what one passenger asked me on my most recent interstate bus trip. I don’t consider myself an IT specialist, but I’m honored by the misunderstanding.

    I traveled often this summer, back and forth to my home in D.C. and spending time with family in New Jersey and New York City. On this particular bus ride, I was on deadline for a story on the Knight Foundation News Challenge’s #OpenGov grant winners.

    I usually write my stories for PBS directly in our content management system so I can format the story with pictures and links as I’m writing the content.

    It’s a lot easier than the alternative, which is handwriting all of the basic formatting code in HTML (bolditalicized, links, video embeds, etc.) But Internet was unreliable on that bus, so writing the story along with the code in plain text made more sense.

    A year or so ago, that would have been inconceivable for me. I’m no Luddite, but I’m certainly not a tech genius. I still don’t consider myself fluent in code. But from my time in classes at AU, internships and at The Eagle has slowly taught me some basics.

    In fact, every single internship I’ve ever had has require that I produce my own stories online.

    Those online skills, rudimentary as they might be, have been a huge boon for me. I work in an industry that requires digital literacy, and I’m happy that I have started that path. I’ve also gotten some practice in audio editing from my work in Latin Pulse, and all of those help me become a better journalist.

    And code, like any language, is one best learned by practice, not in lectures. In this regard, the value of hands-on education in this regard, whether on the newsroom, in the classroom, or on a bus, cannot be overstated.

  • Zach C. Cohen 12:31 am on June 6, 2013 Permalink
    Tags: , journalism, julie keck, ,   

    When the intern gets the final say 

    It’s odd when the intern’s the boss.

    For the last few weeks, I’ve been editing PBS MediaShift’s Daily Must Reads, a collection of the latest news in media innovation and journalism industry trends. Though it often requires me making simple edits such as checking links and deleting commas, I often make much more substantive calls, such as nixing or pitching stories.

    Julie Keck, our social media and newsletter author, typically takes my recommendations. Though she’s been working for MediaShift (and working in general) much longer than I have, I often have the final say.

    (More …)

  • Zach C. Cohen 2:05 pm on May 24, 2013 Permalink
    Tags: amy mitchell, CUNY, debbie galant, , jeff jarvis, journalism, , new jersey, NJ News Commons, , Pew   

    Reporting on my home state 

    So I went to school in D.C. and got an internship at a national news outlet, PBS MediaShift.

    And I ended up covering the state of media in my home state.


    (More …)

  • Zach C. Cohen 12:04 am on May 22, 2013 Permalink
    Tags: AP, , , department of justice, journalism, , , , , ,   

    Start of my internship at PBS 

    I had the pleasure to secure an internship at PBS MediaShift this summer!

    Amy Eisman, my “Writing and Editing for Convergent Media” professor, first told me that Mark Glaser, executive editor of MediaShift, was searching for an intern to work on their weekly podcast, “Mediatwits.”

    Though I wasn’t initially selected after the three-step application process (resume and cover letter, exercises, and then an interview), Mark did hire me to come on as an editorial intern to blog and edit the site for the summer.

    A few weeks later, Mark’s first pick for their podcasting intern had to go, and he promoted me to work on the podcast as well with double the pay. (More …)

  • Eleanor 10:48 pm on February 9, 2013 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , , , , , , journalism, , ,   

    First Day on the Job! 

    Oh hey world! Didn’t see you there! So, as this is my first post, I thought I’d do some introductions. First off, I’m Eleanor. Nice to meet you. I’m a sophomore print journalism major (Creative writing minor? Maybe.) at the School of Communication at American University. And, starting this morning, I’m the new intern (maybe the only intern, don’t know) at the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). It’s a small government agency that gives grants to museums and libraries. That’s the one sentence summary I’ve given to my family and friends who’ve asked me to explain. I have a feeling I’ll be able to say a lot more about it by the end of the semester.

    I guess I should probably tell you about how I got this internship. Well, every semester on campus, there’s a job and internship fair that’s very well publicized and usually everyone goes. Except me, because I’ve always had either class or work on Wednesdays, the day they’re usually held. Last semester, it was October 4th, I believe, and I was looking for an internship for the spring. In the weeks before the fair, the career center sends out a lot of emails with lists of the companies and organizations attending, so you can do your homework on the businesses, if you’re really interested in them. From this list, I found IMLS, and looked at their internship requirements for their intern in the Office of Communications and Government Affairs. I pretty much fit the bill for a position, and thought it might be a good match because my campus job was at the AU Museum at the Katzen Arts Center. I also saw that IMLS had an October 1st deadline for fall interns, and since the career fair wasn’t until after that date, I thought I might have a good chance because I wouldn’t be competing with many other AU students, at least. So I sent them my application, and went in for an interview. The women I interviewed with were very welcoming, and seemed really grateful to have someone interested in the internship. They offered me the position at the end of the interview, telling me they’d love to have me in the spring, because their current intern was leaving in November, and their office was under construction, so they had a lower capacity than normal. It has been a little weird, but such a relief to have the internship waiting for me in the spring. So here I am, just after my first day on the job.

    I can’t wait to really get this blog going, check back for some of my adventures at IMLS! Thanks for reading.

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