Getting an internship: Learn how at media panel

By Emily Ahlin / Staff Writer

In today’s job market, an internship is a non-negotiable requirement, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s executive editor David Shribman.

Shribman will moderate “Media Internships: Writing on the Job,” on Monday, Oct. 27, in the William Pitt Union ballroom from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. This year, the event features seven panelists who will answer student- and faculty-generated questions and offer up information about their own careers, according to Cindy Skrzycki, a senior lecturer in Pitt’s English Department. The English Department and The Pitt News sponsored the event. 

Skrzycki said she has organized the panel annually since 2005. 

“These started very, very small,” Skrzycki said, noting that the panels then consisted of only one to two journalists. 

Now, Skrzycki said, seven to eight media professionals with different jobs attend with a common purpose — they want people who can write. 

“This panel is for people who want to use their English degree in some capacity,” Skrzycki said, adding that an opportunity like this isn’t common. 

“It’s very unusual to bring together eight people in the media world,” Skrzycki said.

One contributor for this year’s panel is Cindi Lash, the editor-in-chief of Pittsburgh Magazine.

Lash said she has held many media jobs, in both print and digital capacities. Lash worked for the Pittsburgh Press for five years, had a job with the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette for 20 years and was a regional editor for AOL’s for three years before taking on her current job. She’s also served on the panel before.

“It’s mutually beneficial for students and [Pittsburgh] Magazine to connect,” Lash said, noting that the publication has benefited from the interns on its staff.

In an email, Shribman said he has moderated the panel for at least 10 years.

“Every time is different and worthwhile,” Shribman said. “The attendees learn something, and we on the panel learn a lot.”  

Skrzycki said after the formal panel moderated by Shribman, students have the opportunity to interact with the panelists one-on-one and ask questions. Although the event has no dress code, Skrzycki said it’s not a bad idea to dress to impress.

“[This is a] good opportunity to think about interview attire or how to dress to meet a professional,” Skrzycki said, noting that business or business-casual attire would be appropriate for the event. She added that students have brought resumés to this event and gotten internships from the event in the past.

“Chatting and asking questions is helpful for a student to figure out ‘Is this what I want?’ ‘Is this the place I want to be?’” Lash said. “From our perspective, [we learn] who might be a good fit for us.” 

Shribman said his experiences as an intern have helped him in his career, adding that they “shaped [his] life and [his] journalistic outlook.” 

“If students want to go into these fields, attending this event should be regarded as a must,” Shribman said.