Each year, the German embassy sponsors the Young Journalists’ Program – they take a handful of American journalism students to Munich and Berlin to meet German journalists and visit media companies in the land of Bach and Oktoberfest. This year, I get to go.
It’s internship season now, and every post on JournalismJobs and MediaBistro proudly declares that they will not be using you as a moving tray. You will be doing Real Work, like reporting things, jumping into hard news, writing front page stories, sitting in on editorial meetings and being allowed to speak. It’ll be great! You’ll be pitching stories, poring through data, getting Deep Throat to tell you all his inner secrets and winning a Pulitzer. You’ll be consuming more coffee than you deliver.
When I see that sentence, I shudder. Not because they’re lying, but because they are telling the truth.
The six-word bio is an initiative by Smith Magazine for capturing profound and clipped life stories. It is also a component of a Berkeley student’s profile that is shared throughout the Berkeley network and shown to potential employers.
It is, more importantly, an excellent way to waste a lot of time. Kind of like extreme Twitter.
While going through journalism graduate school interviews, I was asked the following question: Are journalists activists? I was asked this question twice. Both times, the photo and caption above flashed in my mind automatically.