Industry placements in journalism education: Exploring enhanced learning and professional growth for interns
A considerable number of internship placements are facilitated by journalism programs around Australia, and globally, with limited systematic investigation of their effectiveness as a learning environment. It is generally accepted that any professionally-oriented degree- such as journalism, nursing, teaching, physiotherapy etc - should involve some level of workplace learning. There is much anecdotal evidence of their positive impact on the learning process but no hard evidence that what has become known as 'work integrated learning' placements, particularly in media industries, contribute to student learning outcomes. Through our study, we aimed to discover what students actually learn from journalism internship experiences and how the University-based instruction we have provided in the years leading up to their internship has contributed to their workplace learning experience. Importantly, we were also interested to discover how industry internships help students to learn about themselves in a broader way. This paper explores the internship experience of graduating journalism students through a combination of approaches - a peer reflective session or focus group with student interns which was recorded and analysed for two consecutive course offerings; and qualitative interviews with selected media industry internship providers. The data suggests that student learning through the internship placement scheme takes place at several levels: through workplace variability; through students' different and diverse internship experiences; and particularly through participation in a post-internship peer reflective session. The paper offers an important indication of the kinds of knowledge and the extent, duration and range of experiences required for students to apply effective practice in varying workplace settings (Billett, 2009a; 2009b) in the field of journalism.
Journalism and Professional Writing not elsewhere classified