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A JAT 399 internship is a chance for an upper-division student to work in a professional setting to gain on-the-job training. Interns are expected to have basic skills necessary for the company for which they will be working. They are also expected to gain experience and learn new skills for their professional career. Interns take the skills and theories learned in the classroom and apply them to a job. Internships give students the opportunity to gain valuable applied experience and make connections in professional fields they are considering for career paths.
All Journalism and Media Arts and Studies majors are required to complete a three-credit JAT 399 internship before graduation. Journalism majors also must produce an approved professional portfolio. Work done at a JAT 399 internship is an essential part of a portfolio because prospective employers are looking for people with internships and professional publications.
If you are an employer interesting in offering internships for our students, please follow this link: Employers Planning to Offer Internships.
Below are the steps you need to take for an internship. Please read through them all carefully before beginning the process.
Once you have looked over all of the material below, you’ll be required to give an electronic signature certifying that you read and understand the internship process.
If you have any questions, please contact the internship supervisor listed under your major.
Journalism Internship Supervisor: Prof. Scoobie Ryan, 859-257-4362, email@example.com
Media Arts and Studies Internship Supervisor: Prof. John Clark, 859-257-2810, firstname.lastname@example.org
STEP 1: ARE YOU ELIGIBLE?
You must complete the classes listed below before you are eligible for JAT 399 internship. You can arrange the internship before you complete these courses, but you cannot actually start the internship until these classes are completed.
Print/Multimedia: JOU 301 News Reporting OR JOU 303 News Editing (depending on the type of internship and other factors)
Broadcast/Multimedia: JOU 302 Radio/TV news reporting.
Media Arts and Studies: MAS 300 and MAS 310 (as well as your pre-major courses).
STEP 2: HOW TO FIND AN INTERNSHIP
Start looking for an internship early—at least the semester before you’d like to complete it. Summer internships often have deadlines in November and December, so be sure you know when your application is due. It is recommended you decide on an internship before you apply and are approved. Here are the approved internship sites.
Journalism approved internship sites are listed HERE.
Media Arts and Studies approved internships are listed HERE
New internship opportunities come up frequently and are posted on the JAT Listserv.
STEP 3: HOW TO APPLY
Check the approved internship listings. Figure out who to contact and how they prefer to be contacted. Some, like the Kentucky Press Association, have online application forms. Some want an email with a cover letter, resume and writing samples. Others would prefer a phone call. Still others ask you to meet with a particular faculty member to determine whether you would be a good fit for the internship. It is up to you to secure the internship. Eventually, all of the companies will want to see a one-page resume, a short cover letter, and examples of your work.
STEP 4: HOW TO ENROLL
You must apply, complete a contract and pay tuition for the three-credit JAT 399 course. You will be billed for tuition during the semester in which you are working at the internship site. Your faculty internship supervisor MUST approve your contract before your faculty internship supervisor can enroll you. You CANNOT enroll yourself.
The application asks you to specify where you plan to intern and which semester. If you are applying at more than one site, list all of them. If you don’t know, or plan to intern at a site that hasn’t been approved, do not delay applying. The internship director needs to review the application to be sure you are qualified as well as let your faculty internship supervisor know you plan to intern.
STEP 5: COMPLETE THE CONTRACT & PAY TUITION
You can download the contract right here. It is an agreement that you, your internship sponsor, and your internship faculty supervisor must sign. It states your responsibilities and duties during the internship, and what you expect to learn during the internship.
Fill out the contract, then turn it in to your faculty supervisor who must approve it before your internship begins.
The last day to have a contract approved for JAT 399 is four weeks after the semester begins. In the eight-week summer session, the last date to have a contract approved and begin work in JAT 399 is two weeks after the eight-week summer session begins. Tuition is included when you register for fall or spring semesters for between 12 and 19 hours. If you take a summer internship for JAT 399 credit you will have to pay for three credit hours. Check the academic calendar on the Registrar’s website for the semester you will intern.
STEP 6: WHAT’S EXPECTED OF YOU DURING THE INTERNSHIP
The School requires you to spend 150 hours at your internship for three credits. That means that during a 15-week fall or spring semester, you would usually be at the internship about 10 hours a week. It is better for you to spend as close to a full day as possible at your internship rather than just a few hours.
During the eight-week summer session, you would devote close to 20 hours a week. You may register for the eight-week summer session but begin the work in the four-week term. That way the hours would be spread out over 12 weeks rather than eight.
Treat an internship as the first step in your career. Bright and highly motivated students from all over the country will be competing against you for jobs in the industry. Be on time, stay the hours you’ve said you’re going to work, avoid doing personal errands, email or use social media when at work, and don’t burn any bridges. Expect to work holidays, weekends, and long hours. Remember the employer evaluation completed by your internship supervisor is a vital part of the evaluation process. Negative feedback can adversely affect your grade. Students have failed JAT 399 due to poor evaluations. Your internship site will need to provide any necessary hardware and software. If your internship supervisor expects you to do this, notify Prof. Scoobie Ryan immediately.
STEP 7: HOW YOUR GRADE IS DETERMINED
JAT 399 is a pass/fail class. While it does not happen often, students have failed JAT 399.
During the semester there are several other mandatory steps you must complete to receive a grade:
1. Meet with your faculty supervisor before the internship begins to agree on how you will communicate.
2. Submit weekly reports to your faculty supervisor via email. The body of the email (not an attachment) should include the internship location, number of hours worked that week, the total hours worked to date and a paragraph summarizing what you did and learned that week.
3. Write a two-page midterm report describing your activities, what you have learned and whether you are achieving the goals outlined in the internship contract. Don’t hesitate to critique the quality of the internship. Include links to clips, photos, videos or other projects. Journalism majors should put any materials in their electronic portfolios. See the JOU server, PORTFOLIO folder for instructions. This is due when you have completed 75 hours of your internship.
4. Write a two-page end-of-semester report summarizing what you did learned. Include how the internship affected your interest in a career in that field and what it was like to work at the internship site. Attach any new material you produced since the mid-term report. Journalism majors should enter any materials into their electronic portfolios. This report will be due before the end of the last week of classes.
5. The faculty internship supervisor will request the internship site supervisor to complete an evaluation of the intern’s work. Interns should remind their supervisors to complete the form in a timely manner. You will not receive a grade until the supervisor has submitted the evaluation. To access the evaluation form please follow this link: Employer's Evaluation Form for Intern's Work.
6. All interns must write a brief thank you letter to the internship site supervisor and give a copy to your faculty internship supervisor. You should mention what you got out of the internship and how it will help your career. Here is a sample business letter to show you the right form.
FINAL STEP: CERTIFY THAT YOU’VE READ THIS DOCUMENT
It is really important for you to have read this whole page.
Click HERE and fill out the form to certify that you have read and understood the above information.
You will NOT be allowed to apply until this step is completed.
OTHER TYPES OF INTERNSHIP
EXP internships are a great option for pre-major students and upper division students who have not yet met the requirements for a JAT internship. They have no prerequisites and you can do as many internships as you want, for 1-3 credit hours each (meaning you can work—and pay for--fewer hours during the semester if you need to).
For example, you can do an internship as a freshman and an internship as a sophomore, building your portfolio and resume before you have to find your JAT internship. This gives you the chance to gain additional professional experience while in college.
Keep in mind, though, that if you do an internship through EXP 396, the credits you receive through EXP will not count toward your 120 credits to graduate. That means that in order to graduate from our College, you must complete extra credits if you do an EXP internship. Having said that, however, many students benefit from a second (or third!) internship and they do it through the EXP program.
Listings for these internships can be found in CyberCAT, accessible from the Career Center’s website: www.uky.edu/careercenter. For questions about EXP internships, contact your Career Center representative.
EXP vs. JAT Internships
There are two types of internship for credit: JAT and EXP. Our accreditation rules require that students be permitted to receive no more than three credits for internships while a student at the University. That means you can only do one 3-hour internship for credit towards graduation.
You can complete one internship for three credits within our School. Any other internships would have to be through EXP 396 and our College does not accept those credits toward graduation. See the EXP vs. JAT discussion for more information.
JAT 399 credit is for internships done in the U.S. There are a lot of internship opportunities abroad (see the UK Education Abroad web site for what's available). You can earn EXP credit for non-U.S. internships.
Paid vs. Unpaid Internships
Although there are a few paid internships, most are unpaid. An internship is an opportunity to develop skills and help your career. Paid internships usually require more skills and are more competitive, so you need to start planning for them and applying for them early. Completing EXP internships and working in student media increase your chances of earning a paid internship.