The Reid Project at Clark Atlanta University
This month I participated in a panel discussion at Clark Atlanta University coordinated by alumna Jacque Reid about the importance of internships. The Media Arts Studies class, where James McJunkins serves as its professor, seeks to prepare students to participate in The Reid Project, an eight-week summer internship program in New York City with nationally recognized journalist Jacque Reid. Only ten qualified, high-performing students, of the twenty enrolled in the class, will be chosen to participate in the summer internship program. The class and project seek to develop and produce “expert” interns, who know how to effectively assist and support media professionals in various workplaces.
Reid assembled a dynamic group of journalists to participate on the panel: Tenisha Abernathy, CAU alumna, CNN Executive Producer, Weekend Mornings and President, Atlanta Association of Black Journalists (AABJ); Condace Pressley, Assistant Program Director of AM750 and NOW 95.5FM News/Talk WSB; Ernie Suggs, Reporter, Atlanta Journal and Constitution; and Anthony White, CAU alum and freelance Reporter/Cameraman for Turner, ESPN, FOX, CBS and Georgia Public Broadcasting. All are highly-respected journalists as well as members and leaders within the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) and AABJ. (For more information about NABJ and AABJ, read my blog about the NABJ National Convention 2011.) Although I am not a journalist, I was asked to participate in this panel for a number of reasons. I am a CAU alumna, former college professor, a member of NABJ and AABJ, a blogger, and scholar who is currently writing a book on surviving and succeeding in college. I was delighted to participate on this panel with such a distinguished group of journalists. Each panelist had a wealth of information to share about the importance of participating in and maximizing internship opportunities.
Internships are important to the educational and professional development of students. They also assist young people in the transition from students to professionals. Ultimately, internships exists to help students develop their craft, gain experience and expand their network. So many students do not pursue or participate internships, despite the fact that internships are essential vehicles on the road to building thriving careers. If you are a college student or have a child in college, I urge you to take advantage of internships. Internships are valuable to professional success.
As for the professionals, you have a role as well. I encourage you to develop internships for students at your businesses, institutions and nonprofits. By creating and providing internships, you, too, can propel a student into successful careers.
To the students who are in the class and reading this blog, I am sure you are asking, “How do I ensure that I will be one of the ten chosen to participate in the program?” My advice is simple and to the point. Read the syllabus, execute its requirements and exceed the expectations!