We know it’s incredibly tough to get into journalism in the north of England and there aren’t many places for work experience.
We used to be happy to take everyone who contacted us, but it became an administrative nightmare and we’d end up with a massive waiting list, at times with hundreds of people on. It didn’t work.
We realised we can’t take everyone who applies but we’ve simplified it in what we think is the fairest way possible. Now we have a fixed programme where interns come in one day a week and work alongside our small team in Leeds city centre. We choose who to take on based on ability.
It’s a six-week programme, with the possibility of staying a further nine weeks if you’re a good fit (and maybe even the potential to become employed if you really impress us and we happen to have some money spare).
Who should apply?
Anyone with an interest in becoming a journalist. While we’re happy to take anyone with any personal circumstances, you need to be able to commit to the programme. A journalism qualification might show us that you’re serious about being a journalist but we value life experience more than academic pieces of paper. You might be studying or have a job but you need to have a weekday free (ideally the same day every week).
You need to live in Leeds, Bradford, Wakefield, Huddersfield, Harrogate, etc. We do occasionally take people from York, Sheffield, Manchester, and even the Midlands, but please be aware that you’re probably entering into a bitch of a commute and the cost will add up extremely quickly.
Who shouldn’t apply?
People who shouldn’t apply include those who:
- Don’t read any journalism/don’t want to be journalists
- Don’t really have time
- Are only applying to tick a box at uni
- Are racists, sexists, homophobes
- Are Debbie Downers
What are you looking for?
- Commitment, commitment, commitment
- Good writing skills
- Confidence and enthusiasm
- The potential to be a bit nerdy about journalism
What will I get out of this?
A crash course in journalism with a small, friendly team. Depending on your background and/or experience we’ll teach you different skills to help you take your next step as a journalist. Previous interns have gone on to become our chief reporter, deputy editor and features editor in less than a year. Some interns have used their experience to get on to top journalism courses, while others now work at other publications.
If I miss a week will it still count towards my six weeks?
Yes, unless it’s a bank holiday. If you know in advance you’re going to be missing more than a week, it’s best to postpone your internship until you’re more available. It’s a fixed programme and if we start moving things around it will affect the next bunch of interns.
What will I be doing?
Alongside odd admin jobs here and there, we’ll throw you in the deep end and we’ll make sure you get plenty of opportunities to write. Depending on your interests and skills, and what we have going on at the time, you might be doing anything from writing news stories, interviews, features, editing podcasts, researching for investigations.
Is it paid?
No, sorry. We can barely pay ourselves most of the time.
Do you pay expenses?
We’ll pay travel if we send you out to cover a story but we don’t pay travel to and from the office.
How will I know if I’m being kept on?
We’ll tell you at the end of the six weeks. If you work hard, bring energy and enthusiasm and fit in with our values (honesty, bravery, diversity), you’re a shoo-in.
Rather than once a week, can I come every day for a few weeks or can you work around my schedule?
No, sorry. While we’re keen to have as many interns as possible, this isn’t our actual job, so we need to keep the process as easy as possible.
Can I do it remotely?
Sorry, no. We have tried it and it doesn’t work.
How do I apply?
Send an email with a couple of links to things you’ve written and a short paragraph telling us why you’d like an internship to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please DO NOT send a CV or cover letter. It most likely will take us a good few weeks to get to your application (as I said, we get hundreds) and, providing you’ve been able to follow those simple instructions, we’ll send you a quick writing test (it should take about 20 minutes to do and we’ll give you a couple of weeks to send it back). We’ll use all this to decide who to take on. If we don’t pick you, we’ll let you know why and you’re welcome to keep applying (persistence is an excellent skill in a journalist).