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College of Humanities & Sciences

Richard T. Robertson School of Media and Culture

Dow Jones News Fund internships

Colin Kennedy, who received a Dow Jones News Fund internship in 2014 [View Image] Colin Kennedy, who received a Dow Jones News Fund internship in 2014

The Dow Jones News Fund offers paid summer internships for college journalists. The interns work at some of the most prestigious news organizations in the United States, including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and Reuters news service.

The DJNF internships focus on four areas: 

  • Multiplatform editing: Prep for the challenge of designing and producing high-quality print and digital news products on deadline.
  • Data journalism: Gain the essential skills and methods of computer-assisted reporting, including the ability to analyze and find compelling stories in data.
  • Digital media: Learn to create digital products, produce multimedia components, manage social media, analyze web traffic, code with Python and devise strategies for engaging media consumers.
  • Business reporting: Hone your news gathering techniques and learn about finance, the economy, labor relations, the stock market, regulatory agencies and commerce.

Interns receive a week of training at New York University, Arizona State University, the University of Missouri, Temple University, Pennsylvania State University or the University of Texas. Then they work for 10-12 weeks at their assigned newsroom.

The program is open to undergraduate students, graduate students and students who have just graduated. The interns are paid at least $525 a week, and those returning to school after a successful internship receive a $1,500 college scholarship.

The deadline to apply for the 2022 summer internships is Nov. 5, 2021. As part of the application process, students must take an editing test that covers grammar and word usage, current events (including placing them on a map), editing and headline writing. 

At the Robertson School, Instructor Alix Bryan-Campos helps promote the program. If you will apply for the DJNF program, contact her at bryaneg@vcu.edu. Bryan-Campos also helps students prepare for the test and assemble their applications. She conducts workshops for interested students and provides online resources. DJNF also hosts workshops for students. You have to sign up in advance, here. 

The workshops are:

  • Information Session 1: Monday, Oct. 4 at 4 p.m. (ET)
  • Test Prep Session 1: Tuesday, Oct. 5 at 7 p.m. (ET)
  • Information Session 2: Wednesday, Oct. 13 at  1 p.m. (ET)
  • Test Prep Session 2: Thursday, Oct. 14, 4 p.m. (ET)

Take a Dow Jones dry run: Previous editing tests & answer keys

There is a slightly different editing test for each of the four internship areas (multiplatform editing, data journalism, digital media and business reporting). Dow Jones has posted the tests and answer keys for the most recent years (2021, 2020, 2019, and 2018) here. Studying these resources is the best way to prepare for the test.

You’ll find older tests and answer keys on a website called EditTeach.org. (You might consult them just for the grammar questions.) 

You can apply for more than one of the internships. In fact, it’s a good idea to apply for at least two -- because some of the questions that you see on one test (like current events) are likely to appear on another test.

The test typically has five parts:

  1. Grammar: confusable words: who/whom, principle/principal, fewer/less, flout/flaunt. You circle the correct word. Usually 10-20 questions. We’ve been tracking what’s on each test for several years.
  2. Current events: news and pop culture, people and events. You fill in the blanks. 10-15 questions. You may need to match pictures of newsmakers with their names.
  1. Geographic knowledge: You'll be shown a map of the U.S. and a list of news events (usually five). You put the number of the event in the correct state. Here is a map with state names.
  2. "Legends": You must know people who died in the past year with what they did. About 5 questions.
  1. Editing and headline writing: You'll be presented with a story of about five or six paragraphs. You need to edit the story for facts, AP style, grammar, punctuation, spelling, etc. And you must write a headline. (The test will give you a "headline count" -- like "two lines with a maximum character count of 20 per line." Just assume that every letter or space in the headline you're proposing count as one character.) After you finish with the first story, then you do the second story.

Grammar and usage

Many of the questions for this section are recycled year after year. By studying past tests, you can anticipate what you'll face on Part 1. EditTeach also has exercises to help you brush up on grammar. And there is a helpful (free) online course at NewsU called "Cleaning Your Copy: Grammar, Style and More."

To brush up on AP style, here is a set of tipsheets covering capitalization, abbreviations, numerals and punctuation. VCU provides all students with access to the AP Stylebook Online.

Current events and geographic knowledge

Study Wikipedia's entry for 2021 and 2020; it includes a list of prominent people who have died this year. You also can Google around for "top news stories of 2021" and "notable deaths 2021."  

Download a U.S. map and be able to point out the states where important events happened.

Headline writing

Here's a tipsheet on writing headlines. You also will find helpful tips from Professor Malcolm Gibson at the University of Kansas.

For the business reporting internship test

Browse the website of the National Center for Business Journalism. Know the names and abbreviations of regulatory agencies (like the FTC), as well as business/financial terms and the most prominent business stories in the news recently. Know how to present data with a chart: Use a line chart for data over time; a pie chart for comparing parts of a whole; a bar or column chart for comparing discreet items.

For the digital journalism and data tests

Know digital terms like the ones on this list (“2020 SEO Glossary”) and the names of common programming languages. Also, be able to explain how you’d enhance a story online (with audio, video, links and other web extras). Know how to present data with a chart: Use a line chart for data over time; a pie chart for comparing parts of a whole; a bar or column chart for comparing discreet items.

Other parts of the DJNF application

You'll need:

  • A résumé with links to your online portfolio
  • Three to five clips of stories you wrote or links to digital content you produced. For data journalism you may attach code you have written or a data visualization you created; editors can provide headlines, page designs or social media posts. Please note you must combine your work samples into one PDF or Word document.
  • A 500-word essay about: "Objectivity, diversity, technology, equity, history. How do these terms relate to your role as a 21st century journalist?”
  • A transcript
  • Two references with contact info. 

You can get help with your résumé and essay from Maggie McDearmon, the Robertson School’s career development adviser. In addition, VCU Career Services has an extensive collection of online resources and a helpful staff of career advisers.

VCU Libraries has assembled a guide on how journalism students can create a digital portfolio of their work.

As you can see, the Dow Jones News Fund internships are for students who already have solid clips, outstanding writing skills, previous internship experience and keen attention to detail. So plan ahead: As freshmen get involved in student media and seek out publishing opportunities. This will position you to apply for the DJNF program as sophomores, juniors and seniors.

If you can develop an area of expertise, you may have an even better chance of landing a DJNF internship. In your classes and on your own, learn the basics of data journalism and business journalism. You will find a lot of resources -- often free -- from groups such as NewsU, the Society of Professional Journalists, Investigative Reporters and Editors Inc., the Online News Association and the National Center for Business Journalism.

VCU students who have won Dow Jones internships

Students from the Robertson School received DJNF internships in 2013-2015 and 2019-2021. VCU is the only school in Virginia with that distinction. In the summer of 2019, two students from VCU received DJNF internships -- more than any other school in Virginia. 

Two students have completed the internship despite the pandemic. Noah Daboul, a digital journalist major at Richard T. Robertson School of Media and Culture, completed his 2021 summer reporting internship with RichmondBizSense, the city’s premier source of business news and information. Wessam Hazaymeh, a public relations major, completed her 2020 summer internship with the News Fund's Digital Media Program. 

In the summer of 2019, Georgia Geen and Bryauna Kralik received internships. Geen, a digital journalist major, spent the summer as an editing intern at The Roanoke Times. Kralik, a broadcast major, was a digital media intern at The Palm Beach Post.

In the summer of 2013, Amir Vera received a copy-editing internship at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Amir later worked as a reporter for The Virginian-Pilot and is now at CNN.

In the summer of 2014, Colin Kennedy received a digital media internship at The New Haven Register in Connecticut. Colin now works as a channels specialist for Google in Austin, Texas.

And in the summer of 2015, Matt Leonard received a digital media internship at The Denver Post. Matt is now a reporter for Supply Chain Drive, a news organization that covers news and trends shaping supply chain management.



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