The value of a Dow Jones editing internship

by andybechtel

It’s Dow Jones News Fund season. Journalism students across the country are applying for this program, which offers summer internships in business reporting and copy editing. Here’s a look at some of the program’s alumni from UNC-Chapel Hill who had internships as copy editors.

Copy editor: Katie Schwing
Year of internship: 2005
Where she interned: New York Times News Service
Where she is now: Colorado Springs, Colo. “After three years as a copy editor on the night news desk at The Gazette (minus a two-month period during which I was laid off), I left to do editing and graphic design for an architecture/engineering/planning firm called HDR.”
How the Dow Jones internship helped her career: “It’s been invaluable. Having that on my resume made newspapers sit up and take notice when I was applying for jobs (both after college and when I was laid off), especially with such a large paper listed as my first internship. I constantly use the skills I picked up working the wire, having to trim Times-length stories to much shorter news bites — handy not only at a paper with a shrinking news hole but also in my new job, to help deal with wordy engineers’ writing. Dr. Ed Trayes was incredibly influential in my journalism education, even though he only taught me directly for two weeks. He really nailed into us the importance of both detail and big-picture editing (providing a broad education about the world in the process), as well as how to conduct ourselves professionally at what was, for most of us, our first time working in a ‘real’ newsroom. I also got to meet industry giants such as Merrill Perlman; without her workshops in our Dow Jones training and at the Times, I would have probably been intimidated to approach her one on one.”

Copy editor: Lindsay Naylor
Year of internship: 2008
Where she interned: Grand Forks Herald in Grand Forks, N.D.
Where she is now: Grand Forks Herald
How the Dow Jones internship helped her career: “The internship helped me get a lot of experience editing and designing pages at a newspaper. I was hired by my paper, and because I already had a couple of months of experience there under my belt, they were able to bump me up on the pay scale when I started full time. Before I took the job at the Herald, editors at other papers I applied at said specifically that one of the reasons they called me for an interview was that I had a Dow Jones internship on my resume. I’ve also kept in touch with a lot of the other interns I attended training camp with. We’ve contacted one another whenever our publication has been hiring, and a couple of the others have gotten jobs after another former intern has put in a good word for them.”

Copy editor: Pressley Baird
Year of internship: 2010
Where she interned: The New York Times
Where she is now: A senior at UNC-Chapel Hill and platform producer for the Reese Felts Digital News Project
How the Dow Jones internship helped her career: “Ask me this question again in a few months, and I can tell you if working for The New York Times actually helped me get a job. Right now, though, it’s made me a better journalist in several ways. I was able to read a wide variety of stories at my internship because I worked for the Metro desk. During a typical week, I’d handle a couple of stories about crime in the city, a political story about a new tax the mayor wanted to pass, an obituary of a well-known New Yorker and a few longer feature-style pieces for the Sunday Metropolitan section. Reading so many different — but all well-written — pieces improved my own writing. But the most beneficial part of working at the Times is that you’re working with the very best, all of whom are eager to help you. My coworkers took time to show me what I was doing wrong and tell me how to fix it. I got suggestions on where to apply after graduation, and I left the paper with a long list of people who were willing to serve as references. Connections like that are invaluable.”

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