Q: I am an aspiring journalist who is looking to gain newspaper experience in any way possible. What are some ways I could get more involved, seeing as how I am a senior in high school?
Are high school internships available? How and where do I apply for one?
Also, I am trying to make a decision on where to attend college to study journalism. The two colleges I have in mind have little or no journalism programs. Would it make sense to attend a non-journalism school and work on the newspaper for two years, and then transfer to a school like Wisconsin-Madison, who has a pretty good journalism program?
Also, the professional journalists I have talked to do not really seem to like their job due to low salary and long hours. Are these things true and if so how does one overcome them?
A: Well, you're getting started early, and that's good.
The only real opportunities for high school journalists will be very local. Call the local papers -- especially the smaller ones -- and ask if they can use any help getting high school scores, covering local events -- anything at all. If your high school offers a co-op program or externships, see about doing one of those at a local newspaper.
I am not fully understanding why you are so intent on going into journalism but NOT attending a university where they teach it. However, that can work -- and it can work for transfer students. Just make sure you get a lot of real-world experience starting ASAP.
I know some journalists who are not happy with their jobs, too. Almost everyone I know would like to make more money and work fewer hours. And a lot of us are concerned about the future of journalism. There are changes on the horizon and change can be exhilarating or scary. The happy journalists I know feel fulfilled by what they are doing -- most of the time -- and have found a good balance between work and their personal lives.