By Director Amos Gelb

It’s March in Washington and we are well into summer internship placement season: our annual rite of matching up students with perfect internships in the internship capital of the world.

Here at WMI we focus exclusively on the media so, as you would expect, we deal with an ever-changing professional landscape. Traditional newspaper opportunities diminishing, podcasting growing, paid vs unpaid internships.

But this season there is something new.  Something I had not expected. And something that is going to change the way soon-to-be-former students get their careers started.

It is in the area of video production.  DC had earned the name Docu-wood for the concentration of production houses here that serve National Geographic and Discovery.

I worked in and with that industry for years and knew most of the production houses.

So when a student popped up who wanted to work in production and had a particular focus, I reached for the virtual rolodex and started calling several places that would be the right fit.

And this is where it was something new.

Most of the largest production houses I worked with have either consolidated, downsized  or are simply gone.

There is still plenty of production happening in DC, but as cable has slid into decline, the  tide on the business model that had supported all the production houses has gone out. Talking to old colleagues revealed that the bulk of the work is freelance and there are fewer and fewer staff positions. It is the gig-economy production style.

There is still plenty of production and smaller production shops have spring up. We took the opportunity to review our rolodex and  the intern was placed well.

But here is why this is relevant to soon-to-be-former students. If you want to get into production, the old route, getting your foot in the door at a production house and working your way up, is gone.

The challenge will be how do you get known when you have no track record? How do you build the network to get that call when needed?

And so WMI has added a new component. How to find the entrance.

The Washington Media Institute helps students build the professional resume they need to get the job after graduation. Our program complements what students are learning at their universities through project-based courses, full-time internships, and networking site visits. Click here to learn more about our program.

By Director Amos Gelb

Let’s face it, interning is all about the job – the one you want and hope to get.  For most students, they are looking for the elevator up to the top floor and usually that floor is something they have persuaded themselves they have always wanted.

Case in point, this past semester a student came to the Washington Media Institute with an impressive resume, filled with an array of broadcasting and reporting experience. Covering politics was her goal, specifically for a network. We went a slightly different route with video, but one that was still politically based and she lived up to her potential. She completed her semester and her internship loved her.

She has since dropped out of journalism.

She discovered that when she got to really get her hands dirty, what she loved was not broadcast or journalism but the politics. She has transitioned into political communications.

I offer this not to scare students off, but rather to suggest a pause before jumping. So many times students are driven by the few legacy media or pr organizations they have heard of.

Ten years ago that was all there was. But two realities have built over the last five years. The first is that most students don’t really want to do the traditional, legacy media (think tv stations or traditional newspapers.) Second, despite legacy media and pr contracting, there are actually more opportunities today than ever before, both to intern and professionally, but they are not where everyone generally looks.

Newsletters, podcasts, issue pr, start-up companies – not only are these sectors growing rapidly, but most of the traditional (read old) practitioners have neither the skills nor the aptitude for the new industries.  Even more importantly, these opportunities more often actually match the real interests of students.

Local tv, legacy papers, even established brands like Buzzfeed are still there and hiring, even as they contract. But it never ceases to amaze me how quickly students confess that is not where their interests really lie.

A touch of advice: students should listen to themselves, and not automatically follow the path cut by previous generations.  The grass is actually greener on the other side.

The Washington Media Institute helps students build the professional resume they need to get the job after graduation. Our program complements what students are learning at their universities through project-based courses, full-time internships, and networking site visits. Click here to learn more about our program.

Here’s a scenario: You just graduated from a very good college or university, investing a ton of time and money towards getting a degree, but now your next step is extremely unclear.

You’ve dreamed of starting a career in journalism, social or digital media, advertising, or public relations, but as you continue to send out cover letters and apply to jobs, you’re starting to realize getting a call back from a hiring manager might take longer than expected.

Sound familiar? We’re here for you.

Introducing WMI’s:JobLab, which is designed specifically for recent graduates who are not sure how or where to find media jobs, how to build a network or do not have the experience even entry-level media positions are demanding these days. We focus on getting the right opportunities before you and helping you navigate that transition to the workforce.

WMI:JobLab is not a Masters program that requires a year or two of classroom study, nor a virtual program that claims it can help get you a job through online courses. It also won’t cost an arm and a leg for a degree that in the end may not benefit your job search.

WMI:JobLab is essentially a semester-long boot camp focused on getting you the experience, the network, and the mentorship you need to kickstart your career and to get your foot in the door at major media organizations.

Featuring internships, classes, networking sessions, and mentorship, WMI:JobLab is a different kind of program, specifically crafted to help recent graduates land media jobs in today’s rat-race.

Intrigued? We want to hear from you. Send us email!

Click here to learn more about our program and for everything you need to know about applying.

Over the past several years, we at the Washington Media Institute have heard from recent grads who are looking to start their career in the media, but really don’t know where to start.

Students who aren’t one of the lucky few to lock in a job before graduation often struggle to find the next best step. Graduate programs can set students back several years and tens of thousands of dollars and moving back in with the parents and sending out applications daily can feel futile.

That’s why we at WMI have created JobLab, a unique program crafted to act as a small bridge for students who need a little extra something to land their first job in media.

Sound like you? Here’s how it works:

THE PROGRAM BEGINS WHEN YOU APPLY: Our faculty works with you to find the area of the media that best suits your interests and abilities and works with you to identify the best internships available.  We then work with you on your resume and interview preparation so that when you get a chance to interview you make the right impression. As part of WMI:JobLab, we guarantee an internship, so as you work through that internship, WMI staff will meet with you to discuss your experiences and help you as you move toward the full time career. Internships are five days a week.

MENTORSHIP: WMI will also assign you a mentor who is working at the top levels of the media in which you hope to build a career. They meet with you four times during the program to offer insight, advice and guidance as you move towards a career.

NETWORKING:WMI will also provide you a membership of the trade association most associated with your industry, including The National Press Club, The Online News Association, the Public Relations Society of America. That gives you immediate entry to the top professionals who are the ones who do the hiring or know where the hiring is happening. Additionally, to further help you develop your network WMI:JobLab provides you a weekly schedule of events and meetups in DC so that you can attend events and meet both peers and people who are thriving in the industry.

WEEKLY CLASS: WMI:JobLab has a mandatory one evening a week meeting that focuses on professional development ranging from key aspects of professional life to meeting industry leaders. Classes include guest speakers, field visits to top media organizations, and lectures.

Intrigued? Click here to learn more about our program and for everything you need to know about applying.

Introducing a new program tailored specifically for recent college graduates looking to land a job in media: WMI:JobLab.

Our focus is based on one thing: making sure our students are prepared to land a job in media and to be competitive job candidates not just in today’s media landscape, but also tomorrow’s. With this focus in mind, we’ve crafted WMI:JobLab around four core pillars: The internship, the knowledge, the network, and the guidance.

First, the internship. Our staff places each student with an internship at a media organization based on individual goals, ambitions and qualifications. Through our extensive DC media network and experience placing media interns for two decades, we find each student the right fit for them.

Next, the knowledge. Throughout the program, students will participate in a weekly seminar. In this evening course, you will learn the ins and outs of the professional world – how to negotiate a salary, introduce yourself to a new contact, and give the best first impression. It’s the real-world stuff you probably didn’t learn in school that will help you navigate the job market.

The next piece of the program is one of the hardest things to get while in college, but one of the most important things you’ll need entering the job market: A strong network. At WMI:JobLab, we’ll not only set you up with trade organization memberships and a calendar of nightly networking events, we’ll be with you every step of the way.

Lastly, but certainly not least, is the guidance and mentorship. We assign a specific mentor to each student in WMI:JobLab, empowering you to connect with industry leaders on a personal level. Whether it’s which career path to explore or how to follow in their footsteps, these mentors will be there to answer your questions throughout your entire experience.

So, how are WMI graduates doing work wise?

In the last two years, a dozen graduates from WMI’s undergrad program have landed media jobs as a direct result of the program, including at top organizations like The Verge, Monumental Sports and Entertainment, The Washington Post, NBC News, and Susan Davis International.

We’re currently accepting applications for our Fall 2018 semester and would love to hear from you.

Click here to learn more about our program and for everything you need to know about applying.

While you’re searching and applying for a job in a media, you should be actively building your skillset and experience to make yourself the best possible candidate you can be for a potential employer. That might be obvious to almost everyone, however, the people who choose to put in the work when they’re not filling out applications can set themselves apart from the crowd. Here are four ways you can start producing content today, and in turn, separate yourself from the applications masses:

1. Blog

This is a simple one. On your personal website, add a “blog” page and start writing (at least) weekly. Stay away from political issues or inappropriate content topics, but give your take on everyday life, write articles about free festivals you can attend, review local restaurants, etc. Virtually every job in any form of media requires you to be able to write, so this is an opportunity for you to keep your skills up and also to showcase them consistently for potential employers.

2. Videos

The beauty of today’s technology is that if you have a DSLR, a digital camera, or even just an iPhone and a computer, you too can be an aspiring videographer or video editor! If you don’t know how to edit video, take some time to shoot some videos, watch a few tutorials online, and play around with the editing on your own. View the time that you spend on this as time and energy you’re investing in yourself and your own value. If you can put together a few nicely shot, edited video pieces on your website, you’re infinitely more attractive as a candidate.

3. Web Design

Speaking on being more attractive as a candidate and investing in yourself…build your own website! Don’t cop out and pay someone to do this for you, even if you think it will look much nicer. You can make it look that nice too, if you’re willing to put in the work and spend the time. Taking it a step further, once you’re a bit more comfortable building your site on a Content Management System (CMS) like WordPress or Squarespace, ask your family or friends if they’d like you to build their personal or business website as well. It’s additional experience for you and portfolio material, and if you get good enough you could even make some extra side cash.

4. Social Media Management

No “social media management” doesn’t mean you have experience posting to social media. There’s a clear, distinct difference to potential employers between you posting random content to your personal social platforms and you gaining experience in social media brand management and representation for a business. Again, go to friends and family members who might have a small business or are trying to build their personal brand and ask for them to let you put together a content and social media management strategy and schedule for them. Maybe for experience sake you take the first client on for a small fee or for free, just be careful you don’t start providing free or inexpensive service without them knowing that it’s just for an introductory period and that won’t be the rate forever. The value and experience you gain out of building these strategies and managing these accounts coupled with the ability for you to put the business or company names on your resume are big-time victories for you on your job search.

Like these tips? We’ve developed a program specifically designed for recent college grads looking to land a job in media. Click here to learn more about our program and for everything you need to know about applying.