Volume 92, Issue 5

Friday, June 12, 1998

hakuna matata


J-school's timing is critical

Re: J-school misquotes internships, May 29

To the Editor:

Regarding the story on the J-school changing the timing of its internships, two things strike me.

First of all, David Spencer says, "Fundamentally, there was an error made in the pamphlets." Dr. Spencer should know the first fundamental of any good journalist, which Prof. Mack Laing drummed into us when I took his class a year ago, is to get the facts straight before it goes to press. In my understanding, this is the second year the J-school has had substantial problems. Last year it was moving the faculty soon after school began and this year it is internships.

Secondly, internships in May are probably going to cause a problem, regardless of what the school says. The only advantage is that one might land a full summer internship because a paper can now get away with not paying the student for a month. But after a year at school (which costs more than $5,000), it's tough to find the money to survive another month without an income. Besides, many get their internships on the basis that they had experience from January. I landed my summer stint, with the Kingston Whig-Standard, on the basis of my month-long internship in January with the Toronto Sun. Without it, I would not have been given a recommendation or a job.

I am a graduate of the UWO J-school (class of '97), so I'm aware of the importance of timing the internship portion of the program. It's probably too late to deal with this now, but it will be interesting to see the impact this change might have in a year's time.

Robert Thompson
MA. Journalism
Class of 1997

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Copyright The Gazette 1998