This American Life is pleased to offer two six-month internships per year.
This American Life is a weekly, nationally-distributed public radio program featuring documentaries, interviews and short stories. The show is produced in New York City. Our entire staff is less than a dozen people.
The internship program focuses on every facet of producing This American Life—from copyediting to technical production to administrative duties. The interns start off observing the weekly production of the show by sitting in on meetings and edits with producers while developing basic production skills. Interns are required to have experience with Pro Tools or similar digital editing software and are responsible for producing weekly promos and short interviews. Our interns transcribe tape, learn to structure and mix a radio story, and perform assorted menial administrative tasks that are true signs of an internship. By the end of the program, interns are encouraged to produce their own pieces, including editing and mixing voice, sound and music. The diversity of tasks depends largely on initiative and self-motivation. Note: we do not offer internships for the television show. It is not in production now.
Interns are provided a monthly stipend of $3,750, before taxes. We are committed to providing a stipend because the work hours are fairly long. We feed the show on Friday nights at 8 p.m. Eastern time every week, so as we get closer to the end of the week, the hours become longer. The typical work week varies between 50-60 hours. As a result, we feel strongly that this be our intern’s sole commitment during these months, i.e. no other jobs or classes. We do not offer college credit or assistance in obtaining work visas for international applicants. The next open terms are as follows:
The Fall 2013 terms starts July 1. Applications must be received by April 1, 2013; decision by May 1.
The Spring 2014 term starts January 2. Applications must be received by October 1, 2013; decision by November 1.
To apply for the internship program, send a cover letter of no more than 500 words explaining why you should be selected to take part in the program and letting us know something about yourself and why you'd like to work in radio. We aren't looking for fan letters. We know you like the show and we appreciate it, but use the cover letter to tell us why we would appreciate you. You should include a resume and the names and phone numbers of at least two references we may contact.
We ask that you also answer the questions below. You can be brief with your responses—the point of the exercise is both to get an idea of the kind of thinking and work that go into the internship while also allowing the staff to get to know you a little better.
Internship application questions:
Briefly describe any of your previous radio, documentary journalism or writing experiences.
What is your familiarity with Macintosh computers, recording equipment and digital editing? Have you worked with Pro Tools? If not, have you worked with other digital editing programs? Have you ever transcribed tape?
Suggest two documentary/reporter pieces for This American Life. Please explain each story as a whole, along with specific characters and scenes. This probably sounds harder than it actually is. We're not looking for Pulitzer Prize war stories or anything like that, but rather stories that you find genuinely interesting, no matter how small they are. And the more detailed you can get the better. Don’t forget to include why these stories would work specifically work on This American Life.It may be helpful for you to read our submission guidelines, if you have any question about what we're looking for in stories on our show.
Last, tell us your favorite personal story. This can be anything from a something you heard at a party to a story your family loves to tell to something that happened in your life that you find particularly amusing, surprising or emotional. It doesn’t have to be a story that would work on This American Life or even on radio; this is about your personal taste. And please tell us why you like this story so much even if the real reason makes no sense to anyone but you.
The application is now paperless! Send answers to the questions above, along with your cover letter and resume, to firstname.lastname@example.org by midnight the day of the deadline. Please attach the entire application as a Word document, paste your application in the body of the email, and indicate which session you are applying for (Spring or Fall) in the subject line.
PLEASE DO NOT EMAIL OR CALL WITH QUESTIONS REGARDING YOUR APPLICATION. We are a small staff and simply don’t have the time to respond to inquiries. We will automatically notify you by email when we receive your application, and will make follow-up calls to finalists in a timely fashion. We will notify all applicants of our decision by the dates listed above. We apologize in advance for the informality of email notification, but, like we said, paperless. Good, right?