June 3, 2005

INTERNSHIP: Inequalities

I need to initiate a difficult conversation with my supervisor.

When I interviewed for the internship my nose for news immediately told me something was wrong. Disregarding this instinct, I let things slide. Pushing forward (and my doubts aside) I accepted my post with its limitations. After all, I'm just an intern and they know what they're doing, right?

"The word 'slave' is so degrading. Why don't we call you
'intern.'"

New Yorker magazine Feb. 16, 2004


Yet even before our internships officially start, Josh's supervisor gave him a desk, e-mail, voice mail and server access. Josh is already being published, working choice story assignments, becoming familiar with the software and most important -- he's learning. Josh is a good man and after a year of overcoming management's obstacles at The Campus Ledger, he deserves a chance to shine.

My difficult conversation comes from knowing the inequities of our internships. Three years of college newsroom management experience taught me that a supervisor cannot treat every staff member the same.

Having researched and written style guides and policy manuals, I know they set the minimum standard. Conversely, they don't set the maximum level of supervision and guidance either.

Individuals in different departments with various levels of experience demand specialized attention. Treating everyone equally is not the same as treating them fairly.

I, like other interns, simply want the basic tools others have to do their jobs. We want to learn the minimum standard so we can exceed it. We want the same chance to learn and shine.

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