As part of my one-year sports journalism program at Centennial College, I had to complete an internship.
The program set up interviews with TSN, Sportsnet and theScore. They each scooped up a few of my classmates. In desperation, I emailed the managing editor of THN out of the blue, asking about their internship program. I don’t know why I left that to the last minute, seeing as THN was my first choice.
Maybe I was the only person to apply, because I got it.
I don’t know if THN or any of the other internships available at Transcontinental, their parent company, require course credit. I didn’t ask. That’s an interesting discussion: whether journalism-type internships should be for course credit, or if they should be open to anyone with the skills and the drive. We’ll leave that for another time.
All internships at THN are six weeks long. Mine began the first week of November, so this post is a little late.
Most of what interns do at THN is check facts and edit copy. There are opportunities to get original writing into the magazine or THN.com, but you’re an editor first and a writer second.
If you’re looking to diversify your resume, or if you’re looking to improve your writing, or if you’re not a great editor, I’m not sure THN is the right place for you to intern.
Basically, you should be a good writer and a very good editor in order to get the most out of an internship there.
I’m never happy with my writing and I’m always afraid of missing things when I’m editing, but I loved my time there.
There’s zero coffee-fetching or “administrative duties” to do. The writers, editors and art people (for lack of a better term) take pride in treating their interns with respect. I never once felt like an intern during my time there.
I transcribed one interview in my six weeks and the guy felt so bad for asking he bought me lunch. I didn’t mind, though I did get a free lunch.
In terms of education, I learned a bit about how THN magazine is put together and also a bit about the magazine business itself. Can’t say I learned a ton, but the experience was valuable.
I was never exploited. I got a few things published in the mag. All the writers and editors are contacts. (I mean, we’re not best buds, but I can talk to them.) Did I mention it was only six weeks? I worked twice a week at the library to pay for transit and food. Six months unpaid? Forget it. But you can’t argue with six weeks.
I went to several Leaf games, the World Sledge Hockey Challenge, a “friendly” women’s hockey game between Canada and the US at the Air Canada Centre on Dec. 30 and the Canadian world junior selection camp.
I got to rub shoulders with important people in the business. Oh hey, there’s Jim Hughson grabbing something to drink during intermission. Joe Bowen walks by. There’s Bob McKenzie and Craig Button, mere feet from me, watching Connor McDavid. Hayley Wickenheiser, looking forward to Sochi?
I’m aware I haven’t made too many actual arguments as to why unpaid internships can be very valuable. But hey, mine was.