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Internships at The Spectator for summer 2018; no CVs, please

Since we abolished CVs for The Spectator’s internship scheme, it has acquired quite a reputation. There are fewer than two dozen journalists here in 22 Old Queen St and we recruit people rarely – but when we do, we seek to recruit from our interns. We’re not the only ones. Our two best interns from last year (the ones asked back for Christmas) have both just been offered jobs by national publications. The best interns we’ve had recently have included a PPE graduate, former teacher and a mum-of-three whose kids are old enough for her to roll the dice and try a new career. In journalism, all that matters is flair, enthusiasm and capacity for hard work. We don’t care where, when or even whether you went to university. That’s why we recruit our interns from aptitude tests alone.

There is no age limit, but we do ask that you’d be two years away from seeking a job. This year, we’re splitting the internships into four different categories.

1)   Social/new media internship Podcast editing, video editing and social media. They’re not directly related but we’re looking for someone versatile enough to do both.

2)    Research internship Someone who can fact-check, research new topics, spot trends and identify informative articles. This is also open to those who don’t want an internship but would be interested in freelance research work: we operate tight deadlines and need a lot of out-of-hours work.

3)   Data/web internship Someone fluent in tech, but has an interest in using their skills as form of journalism.

4)  Editing and commissioning Suggesting guests or writers. Helping edit copy.

5) Political mischief Working with Katy Balls (more details here).

We have competitions later in the year to recruit writers. Meanwhile anyone is welcome to submit their articles to us at pitches@spectator.co.uk.

The tasks, of which you should pick at least three:

SOCIAL/NEW MEDIA

– Explain in no more than 400 words how we could make better use of social media.
– Write 30 tweets for a recent issue of The Spectator, promoting all sections of the magazine.
– Write three different web headlines for any three Spectator articles (so nine in total).
– Suggest a Snapchat/Instagram strategy for The Spectator, with ten example posts.
– Create a short social media video that would promote any Spectator article.
– Suggest three different topics – and a guest line-up – for a Spectator podcast.

RESEARCH

– Find two factual errors in any newspaper op-ed of your choice.
– Summarise this IMF examination of Piketty’s argument. (Extra points: find any independent validation of his r>g theory.)
– Provide socioeconomic support for any two Beyoncé lyrics.
– Provide a one-page summary on the dismal state of the German military.
– Suggest three guests for a podcast discussion on the recent Slovakian crisis.

DATA/TECH (This will attract higher pay, as we are after quite specific skills.)

– We have all of our cover images saved. How to create an online library of them, searchable by date, artist and keywords?
– Outline a means of automatically ranking recent Tweets by clickthrough or engagement rate.
– Our highest-converting articles are listed in a Google Sheet. But it looks like an Excel file, and needs lots of horizontal scrolling on mobile. How to present this data well on mobile?
– Identify three bugs with our user registration and subscription process.
– Identify three bugs on our website.
– Suggest a new piece of software/an app/technological development that could benefit The Spectator.

EDITING

– Suggest three people who might write the Spectator diary.
– Condense a Dominic Cummings blog post into 500 words.
– Suggest three articles for The Spectator schools supplement.
– Suggest a cover story
– Write a 300-word blog for the Spectator Life website.
– Suggest three improvements to The Spectator magazine.

POLITICAL MISCHIEF INTERNSHIP (More details here)

– Send three topics for a Freedom of Information request
– What connects Kensington, Southampton Itchen and Dudley North?
– Send three ideas for a Steerpike story
– Find out where John Bercow’s Wikipedia page was last edited from
– Submit an article with the headline ‘Eight people who think they could be Britain’s… xxx’ – choosing a public figure of your choice (this link, for reference: )
– What was the best political interview of 2017 – and why?

Please say which internship scheme you’d like to be considered for (you can enter more than one) and send with a covering letter (max 400 words) on what you could bring to The Spectator. Don’t say anything about your age, work experience or background (even you, Oxbridge students) with one exception: do mention any journalistic experience, or if you’re applying for/have been accepted to postgraduate studies in journalism. These courses don’t really teach you anything but they do demonstrate determination. Anyone in journalism will need a lot of that. Remedial support is available for PPE students.

All of our internships are paid (although not very much) and transport costs covered. Some of our interns stay with family or friends in London but arrangements can be made for those with no such connections: no one should be inhibited from applying on any grounds. Two-week internships are available throughout the summer, from June to September, so please also include your preference.

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.)

Applications close on 15 May. Entries to editor@spectator.co.uk with ‘Intern application: new media’ or whichever one you’re doing.


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