I learned a lot during my internship at The Globe and Mail. I believe my writing and reporting skills drastically improved throughout my time there, I’m a better journalist today because of it.
I do, however, feel like it may not have been the best place for my very first internship. This is because of the extremely high standards and stress level at which The Globe operates. I felt as though I was thrown right into it without much guidance or support at the beginning. For instance, I was given a story assignment on my very first day without much training or direction. One great thing about this placement is that they treat you like a reporter and not an intern, so it’s a great way to get real experience and bylines.
The Globe and Mail internship is challenging on many levels. You may have to speak to witnesses of brutal murders. You may have to pose tough policy questions to prominent politicians. You may have to spend upwards of $100 to taxi in and out of the city to report on stories if you don’t have a car (you will be reimbursed in a few weeks). There were times I couldn’t afford lunch.
Editors have very high expectations and will be highly critical of you if you don’t meet them. They are particularly concerned with the energy you bring to the newsroom. If you don’t show the desired level of enthusiasm or network enough they will consider you to have squandered your opportunity with them.
I loved working at The Globe because you’re treated as a staff reporter from the moment you walk in. Be prepared to start writing a story on your first day because there is no training or shadowing. I was given two or three stories a week, mainly for the Toronto section. I had to go out to cover four of them, one was a breaking news story, while the rest were done through phone interviews.
The Globe covers your taxi fare if you’re asked to go somewhere far to cover something and you also get paid $125/week. The staff are welcoming, but since you’re working independently, you don’t get to work with anyone apart from the editors. It’s also difficult to land a job there after the internship because they make it clear that they only hire experienced journalists, not interns.
My placement at the Globe and Mail was probably the best-case scenario for my internship. I was an editorial intern, and it’s a true working internship; you’re assigned the same tasks as backdesk editors and held to the same standards. There was great support from the senior editors and the slots (who assign articles to be edited). I was always free to ask questions.
My day was usually spent editing articles for clarity and content, so when there wasn’t much content to go through it could get a little slow. I also had the chance to write a few published “Moment in Time” segments. I enhanced my editing skills a great deal at the Globe, I’m now able to edit and find errors much faster and know how to adjust my writing to make it as clear as possible.
The Globe and Mail was a pretty perfect internship, but to make the most of it, it is vital to have previous newsroom experience. Nicole MacIntyre, the Deputy National Editor, was a great supervisor to work with, she provided great reporting opportunities, such as staffing Trudeau events and writing cover stories for their Toronto section.
It’s also a challenging newsroom to work in, and a six week term makes it even harder. That’s because while most dailies in Canada have a similar style, the Globe focuses on longer in-depth pieces and have a very specific voice that they get you to write in. Reporters told me that they only felt comfortable with that style after a year (one thing to add is that many of the reporters were incredibly nice!), so six weeks is a hard timeline to get used to it. If you’re a capable writer though, Nicole is great at helping you get a sense of it. Overall, I’d highly recommend the Globe, but be prepared for a challenge and high expectations.