Before beginning a six-week placement with Calgary Sports and Entertainment Corporation (CSEC), my greatest fear was that I would be relegated to “intern” tasks. I needn’t have worried. By the end of my first day, I had written my first story for the WHL’s Calgary Hitmen. As time wore on, I was given more responsibilities and more opportunities, and I compiled a portfolio of dozens of pieces for the CFL’s Calgary Stampeders, NLL’s Calgary Roughnecks and NHL’s Calgary Flames. I worked closely with the members of the digital/social media department, and left with both friends and professional contacts; they were friendly, helpful and happy to have me during a busy time of year, and they appreciated my work ethic. I was offered a full-time salaried position, but declined due to an impending multi-month trip. My supervisor understood my situation and encouraged me to stay in touch for future opportunities.
A Word to the Wise
You will get as much out of your placement as you put into it. This was the internship I had wanted since I was in highschool, and I enroled in the Ryerson journalism program specifically to make it happen. To secure the placement, I researched whom I needed to contact, reached out over email and repeatedly followed up until I had successfully landed my dream co-op. When I was there, I worked almost 80 hours more than is required by the internship course because I wanted to demonstrate that I deserved to be there. It paid off with a job offer (which I had to decline), an expanded professional network, a substantial portfolio and a collection of memories that I will treasure forever.
Your instructors will find you a placement if you are unable to do so yourself, but I cannot stress enough the importance of seeking out a placement that excites you. Don’t give up until you have it. When you do, bust your ass to make an impression. The experience will be that much more rewarding, and you might even land your dream job fresh out of J-School. Good luck.