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|| SportsShooter.com: News Item: Posted 2009-12-18

The other side of intern diaries: The Detroit Free Press
Picture Editor Diane Weiss offers advice for those applying for internships.

By Diane Weiss, The Detroit Free Press

Photo by
The Detroit Free Press would love to have an intern. Unfortunately, we have not been able to hire one for more a year and a half.

So, in this shrinking job market, I cannot stress enough the importance of being prepared when you apply for any internship or job.

First, thoroughly research the paper you are applying to. For example, know the staff and what kinds of stories they shoot. It helps if you are familiar with each individual’s work. That can go a long way. Study the paper’s website, look at how the paper approaches the community they are covering. Being multimedia savvy is now nearly a must. In this ever-evolving business our photographers at the Free Press are shooting for the paper, the web and TV. It is important to know that all of these mediums have their own particular criteria.

For any hire at the Free Press we look for a self-motivating and enterprising person, a personal photographic style and a willingness to learn and to work as a team player. It has never been a more competitive market.

We want to see a portfolio that does not plug into contest categories or formula but a portfolio that shows how a photographer approaches a story and the subjects. Though diversity is important in a portfolio, don’t feel compelled to enter a weak photo if you aren’t the world’s best sports photographer, for example. We want to see your best work and what you think is portfolio worthy. Be a good editor.

Be clean. Submit and easily navigable DVD or website, but remember to edit tightly. The photographer should be his or her toughest critic.

Sending clips of published photos is also helpful to show how you approach other daily stories.

The Free Press does shoot a lot of video and most of our photographers are self taught and have learned on the job, so multimedia and knowledge of software is a plus, but not a must - but kind of a must. Most papers, especially the Free Press, don’t have time to train from the ground up, but rather are more interested in cultivating vision of young talent that an intern brings to the table.

Having said that, if you were coming to the Free Press, come equipped knowing you will be treated like one of the staff. Be open to criticism from an exceptionally experienced and dedicated staff. You would be expected to turn in daily assignments on deadline, and that means Web deadlines, not just paper deadlines. Contribute to the video and multimedia report, but more importantly have fun and embrace Detroit.

Hope we can hire again in this staggering economy.


(Diane Weiss is a picture editor at the Detroit Free Press. You can see her member page here: http://www.sportsshooter.com/diane)

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