We’re looking for interns to spend a week or two with us here at The Spectator. We tend to get over a hundred applications for about a dozen places, and take the process seriously. Several of our recruits (Camilla Swift, Alex Massie, Sebastian Payne) first came through our doors as interns: when we have a vacancy, we normally ask back the best intern of the year. We take an unusual approach in that we don’t want to see your CV. We don’t want to know where, or even whether, you went to university. Frank Johnson was a superb editor of this magazine and he left school aged 16. The only thing that matters in journalism is flair, imagination, work ethic and enthusiasm: skills that you can’t really learn in any classroom.
We’re not looking for writers, per se: The Spectator is blessed with a large number of brilliant writers whose skills we can call upon. At 22 Old Queen Street, we commission, edit and do our best to make sparks fly online. If you can write well but struggle to edit an audio file (or work out how to) then this internship is probably not for you.
A few paragraphs in a covering letter introducing yourself and detailing any relevant experience*, will be fine.
To enter, we ask that you complete three or more of the following tasks:
- Write eight web headlines for articles in any one issue of the magazine.
- Suggest three potential subjects for a Coffee House blog.
- Prepare a sample 200-word blog offering a new insight on any topic, aimed at The Spectator’s Coffee House blog.
- Suggest three people to interview, and explain why they’d be interesting to our readers. Suggest potential interviewers too.
- Narrate and compile your own three-minute summary of any Prime Minister’s Questions (with clips) and send the MP3 file.
- And a research task. Prior to George Osborne’s 2012 budget, Polly Toynbee suggested that his slogan ‘we’re all in this together’ was disingenuous. ‘If he cuts the top 50p rate, with unemployment rising towards three million, surely even he can’t speak the words,’ she said. His budget, she added, would ‘widen the gaps that make Britain one of the most unequal countries in the OECD’. Was she right? Provide figures.
Send what you’ve done—and a short pitch about why you’d like to intern at The Spectator—to us at firstname.lastname@example.org with ‘SUMMER INTERNSHIP 2017’ in the subject field. The closing date for applications is 17 March 2017. Internships will be available from the beginning of June to the end of August, so please include on your application your preferred dates.
We take this seriously, and it’s how we recruit. So please don’t apply if you have more than two years of full-time education ahead of you. We do offer work experience placements for school pupils, through the Social Mobility Foundation, so those interested can apply through them. (I can recommend SMF to other employers: they send great, interested and talented kids and we’ve hired two of their alumni so far.) It’s paid, albeit not very much. Remedial training will be offered to PPE graduates.
* The only education reference you’re allowed to make is to a journalism postgraduate course (i.e., if you’re on one, applying to one, etc). Oxbridge students, please resist sneaky references (ie, “I edit my student newspaper, Cherwell”, etc). The postgrad courses are relevant not because they teach you very much but because it demonstrates commitment. Anyone vaguely interested in journalism will need a lot of that.