Working Conditions

It is important to recognise that news organisations do not always offer 9 to 5 work places.

Many will ask interns to work early morning or late night shifts.

In some countries employees feel that they must spend long hours in the office to impress the boss, in others it is expected that people will go home to their families.

You’ll need to “read” the situation when you arrive, and modify your workings accordingly.


News Values

Photo credit: lukas.b0 via Visual Hunt / CC CC BY-NC-SA
Photo credit: lukas.b0 via Visual Hunt / CC CC BY-NC-SA

When you work as a journalist in another country you will soon discover that what we think is news is of little interest to the local audience, and similarly issues that we think are boring are hugely fascinating to locals.

It is really important when working in another culture to be guided by your supervisors about what is and what is not news. Do not get upset about it. It is just different. Not wrong. But it will be difficult to get used to.

Remember that as an intern your job is to observe and learn, not to tell the locals how to do journalism in the Australian way.

Press Freedom and Ethics

Freedom of the press is an important issue for journalists educated in advanced liberal nations, however when students intern in another country they may find that ideas around press freedom and ethics are very different.

It is important when you are a guest in another country to tread carefully around issues of press freedom. Do not presume to know better than your colleagues. In some countries, publication of a story can have deadly consequences. Heed the advice of those around you.

In the same way that views and attitudes to press freedom differ, so do attitudes to ethics. Global media ethics can be different to Australian media ethics. As an intern in another country, it’s important to remember that you are there to watch and learn.


Around the world, media organisations are slowly seeing an increase in female participation, particularly at the entry level.
However, support for women in the workforce is not always the same in other countries.
Women may find themselves outnumbered and on the receiving end of some stereotypical behaviour and attitudes. But not always. Sometimes it is the men who cast a lonely figure in an office.
If gender is an issue that worries you, do some research on gender issues in the country you are considering working in.


Photo via
Photo via

Our research has found that interns have not found any difficulties in working in other countries, even in very religious nations. However, it is important to consider the place where you are working and think about adapting your behaviour where appropriate. It does not hurt you to cover your shoulders, or avoid alcohol for a month.

And if you do respect local religious customs you will find that people will be more welcoming and friendly towards you.

Promoting your internship

It is a good idea to be proactive in promoting your activity while you are on internship, as well as when you get back.

Promotion is not only good for you, but also for your funding body. If you have been fortunate enough to receive a grant to do your internship, it is important to say thank you.

For instance, The Australia Japan Foundation, Australia Korea Foundation and the New Colombo Plan will be really happy to see you tweet, blog, or Facebook about positive experiences.

When you are distributing your published or broadcast work on social media,  just add in a  a hashtag your funding body: for instance, saying you are funded by the #AKF (Australia Korea Foundation) #AJF (Australian Japan Foundation), or #NCP (New Colombo Program).

You can also tweet that you are from #RMIT. We would be happy with that.

Thank you notes, gifts

At the end of your internship (both domestic and international) you should say thank you to your host for having you work there.

It is important to say thank you in person and you should also write a card, and consider leaving a small gift. Something personal is good. Your gift only needs to be small, and inexpensive, but do put some thought into it, preferably even before you leave home, if your internship is overseas.

We want them to look at that gift, smile, and think of you.

Photo credit: woodleywonderworks via Visualhunt / CC BY