About Semester in Washington
Interns report for work each day at the Scripps Howard Foundation Wire, which is housed in the same office as the Scripps Howard News Service, four blocks from the White House. They report and write a variety of stories. Interns also talk with experts at the Capitol, the Supreme Court, the Student Press LawCenter, the Washington Post, the State Department, the Pentagon and others to better understand how to cover the news. Interns should be prepared to cover government, politics, breaking news, business, sports and features.
Who can apply?
College juniors and seniors who are planning careers in print, online or broadcast journalism can apply for this program. The program has a slot for one post-graduate intern, who works for a year as a multimedia fellow.
How much will I get paid?
Interns in the 14-week spring and fall sessions receive a $2,520 stipend. Interns in the 10-week summer session receive $1,800. Interns in the four-week Hampton University and Florida International University Short Course are paid $720. Interns are paid by check the first day of the program. The post-graduate, multimedia fellow earns $21,000 over a year. All interns are housed for free in furnished apartments in Northwest Washington near the National Zoo.
What is a wire service? How is it different from a newspaper?
A wire service sends stories to news outlets across the United States and to foreign clients. Interns can write for specific news organizations, and all of their stories are posted on our website and made available to any news outlet that wants them. Writers don't always know immediately if a story has been picked up or by which news outlet. This is quite different from seeing your stories in print each day at a newspaper. Clips from the SHFWire can be part of a job-hunting portfolio.
How many hours do I work each day?
Interns work an eight-hour day, Monday through Friday. Breaking news can dictate longer hours or weekend assignments.
What else can I expect from the program?
Semester in Washington interns attend programs at the National Press Club and the Newseum and visit Washington journalism and government institutions. Spring interns usually go to the College Media Advisers convention in New York, paid for by the foundation. Weekly luncheons feature speakers and discussions about topics in journalism.
How many interns write for SHFWire?
Six undergraduate interns, including two international students each year, write stories during four Semester in Washington sessions. A post-graduate, multimedia fellow spends a year with the program, managing the website, teaching skills to other interns and working on his or her own projects.
Who uses the SHFWire?
Stories appear in major daily newspapers and websites across the United States, including Scripps Howard newspapers and non-Scripps papers. Some SHFWire stories go out on the national Scripps Howard News Service, which has more than 300 clients. Interns are encouraged to develop relationships with hometown or other newspapers and to cover Washington for them.
An international component.
The International Center for Journalists selects one international student to take part in the fall and spring sessions of the Semester in Washington Program. Students from Afghanistan, Argentina, Botswana, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, Georgia, India, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Maldives, Mexico, Morocco, Pakistan, Philippines, Romania, Rwanda, Turkmenistan, Venezuela and Uruguay have participated. They write stories for news outlets in their home countries and for U.S. new organizations. The global focus and international perspective these students bring to the Semester in Washington program is a welcome and integral part of the entire group’s experience. For more information and to apply, go to ICJF's Web site and click on “our work” and “fellowships.”
What do I wear to work?
Business attire. Men must wear ties. Some places reporters must go in Washington require jackets for both men and women. Women may wear pants or skirts, but clothing must be modest. Washington is a more formal town than many others, and because reporters never know where they might go on any day, blue jeans and casual dress are not appropriate. Washington is a four-season city. It’s hot in the summer and can be cold and snowy in the winter.
Should I bring a car to Washington?
It is easy to get around the city on the Metro rail and bus system. Parking is very limited and very expensive. There is no free or inexpensive off-street parking near the apartments or the office. Street parking near the apartments is mostly reserved for cars of local residents. Most interns decide not to bring a car.