Internship Responsibilites

What can students do on their internships?

Below are some suggestions about what students can do on the job for internship credit. Suggestions are listed for each concentration area. The items are only suggestions. If you have other learning suggestions, please contact the Department of Communication to see if they are acceptable but supervisors are encouraged to use their own judgment. We want the student to glean as many good experiences from their internship as possible.

Civic Advocacy

  • Advanced Research Skills: Students in the civic advocacy concentration explore how the art of rhetoric (persuasion) serves to produce political, social or legal change in society. In order to be effective persuaders, they understand the importance of quality research skills; however, they could benefit by any assignment directing the student toward researching a point of fact or a fact pattern, exploring actual or hypothetical case studies, etc. Students assigned to your organization can be expected to be fluent with a wide variety of professional (e.g. Lexis-Nexis) and academic (e.g. EBSCOhost) electronic databases and commercial search engines.

  • Strategic Campaigning: Civic advocacy students have taken extensive course work in debate, persuasion theory, communication criticism and campaign construction. They understand that successful persuasion requires a systematic, adaptive and nuanced message deployed and sustained through a committed communication relationship. As a result, our students’ critical thinking skills can be assigned to supplement an extant campaign effort or even construct a de novo campaign from scratch. Our students are capable of not only discovering the relevant facts,  but constructing a persuasive message as well.

  • Fund Raising: Our students could be of assistance in helping raise funds for an advocacy organization. They understand that for an organization to be effective, individual members need to work together in an interdependent and constructive fashion. This is particularly true when the organization is a non-profit dedicated to social change and thus dependent on the financial contribution of supporters. Our students can help brainstorm a fund-raising project or simply help implement it (e.g. canvassing, phone banking, etc.).

  • Print, Video or Virtual Communication Responsibilities: Civic advocacy students understand that constructing a message is not enough by itself. The message must also be deployed, sustained, refreshed, and thus perceived to be dynamic. As a result, many civic advocacy students have had extensive media technology experience that could be used in a broader range of capacities: writing media releases, maintaining an organization’s Web page, conducting photographic field research, etc.

Electronic Media

  • News
  • Weather
  • Newsroom Library
  • On Air
  • Programming
  • Advertising/Promotion
  • Business Affairs
  • Engineering
  • Field Reporting/Remotes
  • Sports
  • Community Service
  • Sales
  • News Writing
  • Commercial Operation/Traffic
  • Production
  • Research/Marketing
  • Graphics
  • Editing
  • Social Media

Family/Interpersonal Communication

  • Places of general note include educational organizations, government (sometimes political) or NGO (non-governmental organizations), health organizations, social and human service organizations.
  • Internship positions include (but not limited to):
    • Parental Educator
    • Youth Counselor
    • Recreational or Age-level Supervisor
    • Mental Health Advisor or Worker
    • Lobbyist
    • Activist Campaign Worker
    • Rape and Abuse Call Center Personnel/counselors
    • Social Organization Intake Workers
    • Social Workers
  • Students should generally work on a time-specific project or in direct contact with the organization's customers or clientele. In other words, internships which may be useful to such organizations such as filing and typing are not really appropriate. Students in this concentration should have an opportunity in their internships to "try out" the interpersonal and family career field and test the skills they have mastered so far in their course work.


  • Writing: Students should write, write, write. Writing is possibly the most important skill required of journalists. Writing news for print and online is of primary importance, although writing for any purpose is encouraged.   
  • Information Gathering or Research: We live in an information society and journalism students are expected to know how to access information in a variety of ways – through interviewing, observation, and research in print and electronic sources such as the Internet or library databases.
  • Fact Checking: Accuracy is the most important characteristic of information. Interns could verify information by serving as fact checkers.
  • Editing: All kinds of editing experiences are valuable for journalism interns. They could do either content editing or copy editing, 
  • Story Assignment: Students have learned what news is by participating in class discussions and activities, by reading news, and by serving as editors at student media. More experience is beneficial.        
  • Photography: Students should take pictures, if possible, or work with photographs to gain an understanding of the various ways that visuals can be used.
  • Graphic Design: Students could profit from layout and design challenges in print or on the Web. It would also be beneficial if the student could work with photographers and illustrators.
  • Web Page Editing: Writing and editing tasks for the Web are strongly encouraged. Students with these skills are especially marketable and will be highly competitive when they apply for permanent positions. Students could maintain a Web page or even a blog.    
  • Publishing: Journalism students could gain invaluable experience by working for book publishers or magazines. They could review manuscripts and edit them under supervision. 
  • Advertising/Marketing: While journalism is generally what journalism students are prepared to do, some students may be interested in applying their language skills to writing ad copy while others may be interested in the business side of journalism.
  • Public Relations: Journalism students know how to write news and understand the media. Those skills are particularly applicable in P.R., especially media relations jobs.
  • Broadcasting: Writing news for television and radio is strongly encouraged. In today's world where media are converging, students will likely face a job where they will be required to write for print, online and electronic media. 
  • Technical Writing: Students should be able to apply what they have learned in journalism classes to another disciplined form of writing – technical writing. Some interns have even taken technical writing classes.  
  • Participate in Meetings or Conventions: This experience would allow students to understand how the organization they intern with makes decisions of various kinds.
  • Other tasks: The above items, of course, are only some suggestions. If you have other learning suggestions that you know will be of educational value to the student, we encourage them. However, if you have any question about whether these activities will help the student accomplish his/her educational goals, please contact us. 

Organizational Communication

  • Make training presentations
  • Design training materials: Handouts, overheads, Powerpoint key points, activities, videos
  • Create training program assessments:  Workshop feedback forms, participant evaluations, knowledge quizzes, activities
  • Develop revising employee orientation procedures
  • Create and/or conduct workplace feedback tools:  Employee surveys, interviews, focus groups
  • Researching other community/competitor organizations= employee policies for comparative purposes
  • Research and write a report of company historical data for internal use
  • Create employee newsletters
  • Coordinate an employee event
  • Participate in employee meetings related to organizational communication 
  • Create, update, or revise websites for internal and external communication
  • Organize data needed for internal reports
  • Conduct focus
  • Develop or maintain social media
  • Work with customer service or communicty relations

Public Relations

  • Writing: Students should expand their horizons writing news releases, magazine articles, memorandums, proposals or any other type of writing opportunity offered by the organization.  Special emphasis should be placed on spelling, neatness and content.  The student should also realize that all written materials prepared for the company must be professional in every aspect.
  • Photography: Students should take pictures if possible, or work with photo art to gain an understanding of the various ways that the halftone can be used.
  • Graphic Design: Students could profit from layout and design challenges as well as helping to select typefaces, paper, ink colors, etc.  The design should be completed on computers if possible.  It would also be beneficial if the student could work with artists and printers.  The main point here is to see the project through from start to finish.
  • Customer Service: An ideal experience for the student would be dealing with the public and the ensuing problem solving.
  • Sales: Included in this category could be special promotions or advertising campaigns.  Students could also learn the fine points of dealing with the client in a marketing environment.
  • Brochures and Other Publications: When possible, allow students to write and edit copy for brochures and special publications.  The student should also be encouraged to participate in the graphic design phase of the publications.
  • Meetings or Conventions: relating to the company's image. Participating in this experience would allow students to relate to the problems facing business.
  • Personnel or Human Resource Responsibilities: Work with the human resource management.  It will be beneficial for the student to see how potential employees are screened, the steps taken to hire an individual and the other concerns facing the human asset of the organization.
  • Social Media: Greate or update websites, youtube videos, or facebook pages.