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How an internship in Cape Town can start your career in journalism

6 min read
· Posted on
July 22, 2020
by Yvonne Jooste
Photo by Joël de Vriend @unsplash

Some of the fundamental journalistic skills are news gathering, interviewing, writing, and creating stories. A journalist needs to understand the way the news is produced and consumed and must have the capacity to produce writing that is both accurate and engaging. 

Journalists are not only able to write clearly and effectively, they can also present facts in an interesting way that grab their audience’s attention. They usually have great interpretive skills as well as a basic understanding of a variety of social, cultural and political issues. 

In order to obtain these skills, and become good at them, an aspiring journalist must practice and do it over and over and over again and again.

Accordingly, an internship in the field of journalism can go a long way in helping one obtain some of these skills. If you are interested in the field of journalism, an internship can also help you experience and understand what journalism is all about. It can help you choose an area of concentration and build up a portfolio to showcase to future potential employers. 

(Considering a degree or career in journalism?Check out this helpful article on how to know whether a career in journalism is right for you.)

At Bridging Gaps, we’ve had the privilege of providing many people interested in journalism with suitable internships in the popular city of Cape Town,South Africa. Cape Town is a vibrant, diverse and cosmopolitan city that offers valuable and exciting opportunities in many industries. If you would like to know more about interning in Cape Town, click here.

The South African press, in general, is known for being gatekeepers of democracy and human rights. The media is independent,active and strives towards high journalistic standards. The media is,therefore, outspoken and routinely explores controversial government practices and human rights violations. 

Cape Town, specifically, is a great city for journalism as it houses the South African parliament, which allows the opportunity to learn about South Africa’s complicated political landscape. 

If politics is not necessarily your thing, don’t fret. Cape Town is home to many big publishing houses and media outlets and offers a range of opportunities in many forms, ranging from newspapers,magazines, online publications to television and radio. Cape Town’s publications reflect the diversity of its population and as a result,journalism is an incredibly exciting, dynamic industry to work in. We’ve seen first-hand what the right internship in a different social and economic setting can do for people. It has not only helped some interns to gain professional work experience and build an impressive portfolio,it has also contributed to helping them learn how to produce engaging content whilst developing interviewing skills and gaining invaluable insight into the lives of local communities.

One of our interns, Peter (check out his full testimonial here) highlights the importance of actually gaining experience and obtaining skills when completing an internship: 

I got more than I expected! I basically got a real journalist job visiting sites, meeting and interviewing local people, and writing many stories weekly. I learned on the job going out and doing things instead of just shadowing someone […] I got a lot of responsibilities! I did the job of an actual reporter. I wouldn’t describe my time here as an internship, I’d rather describe it as very hands-on work experience”.

Another one of our interns, Ruth (check out her full testimonial here) explained that her internship allowed her to really experience what a career in journalism would be like:

“My internship really taught me what to expect from the trade. I found it to be quite a high-pressure job in terms of trying to get relevant and reliable information from people […] I found it challenging to persevere […] It was a challenge of the job that I gained a really useful insight into. Also, doing the internship really made me realise what kind of news I want to report on in my future career”.

Both Ruth and Peter built up impressive portfolios during their internships working for a local leading newspaper – Ruth had 9 of her stories published and Peter, 20! This is so for most of our journalism interns. They also establish international professional contacts, get to know South African journalists and communications professionals and work in an industry where freedom of the press is sacred. 

People that are attracted to journalism and the media industry are usually tenacious, intellectually curious, and, importantly,great storytellers. The city of Cape Town is a city with a wealth of subject matter, and you won’t forget interning in South Africa any time soon. 

An internship in Cape Town in the field of journalism may be just what you need to start your career, find your unique path, or even just provide you with some great stories to tell your friends back home!

What should you do next?

Easy - there's only one thing for it - download this free 37-page PDF guide we wrote just for you. It'll give you an overview of everything you need to know and do to have a rewarding and unforgettable learning experience abroad.

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