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Journalism internship in South Africa

Listed under Volunteering Opportunities in Cape Town, South Africa.

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I've always had ambitions to pursue a career in Journalism so I figured that a little work experience in Journalism would be a pretty useful way to spend some of my gap year. However, nothing could have truly prepared me for what followed when I set off for the mother city of South Africa, Cape Town.

I spent two months in a Cape Town suburb called Plumstead with a Cape coloured host family who had spent the best part of their lives in the dicey and dangerous Cape Flats until the laws of segregation were abolished in the post-Apartheid South Africa and they invested all their savings into a nicer house in an improving suburb that was mostly White.

I'd travel on the main line train into Cape Town every morning and would sign in to Independent Newspapers, where I worked in the newsroom with a young and hard working bunch of reporters, on the Daily Voice, the Cape equivalent of 'The Sun' in Britain; modelled quite literally on the British tabloid complete with a nude girl on page three, horoscopes, problem pages, celeb gossip and lots of sport. I volunteered my services as an intern thinking that the bulk of my activities would involve filing, answering phone calls and shadowing reporters to see what they do - certainly to begin with that was true but very quickly, my willingness to have a go meant I got a lot more 'hands-on' experience in the newspaper. Not only would I accompany a reporter and photographer to an interview or location, but I would sometimes get to file the resulting story as well.

South Africa's problems with crime are well known and while there I was exposed to a much more of the country’s grittiness than the average tourist. Each day I interviewed ordinary people in the townships and Cape Flats whose lives couldn't have been any more different from my own. I covered stories which ranged from incidents of knife crime, to gangland rivalries and the rape of a black woman by a white cop to a brothel that kept two clients hostage for refusing to pay. I got a double page exclusive reporting on underage drinking in shebeens (taverns run out of people's homes) where shebeen owners were knowingly allowing alcohol to fall into the hands of minors in school uniform who were playing truant.

I got to know many of the province's police spokesmen as I followed up on stories during my time there. One memorable follow up was the happy ending of a story of missing five year old twins who were thankfully found a week later. On lighter days, the editors let report on smaller stories on my own – stories like that of a potato a woman found in her sack of spuds from the supermarket that came in the shape of a human penis. You've got to start somewhere, haven't you!

After a busy day sniffing out the news we'd finish typing up copy back at the office and I would set off back home to my host family in the suburbs for the typically Southern African cooking that my host mother had cooked up. I was also able to put my weekends to good use exploring the tourist sights. I drove down the Garden Route, went ostrich riding, cave walking in the Cango Caves, abseiling in Svartberg, wine tasting in Stellenbosch, visited Mandela's prison cell on Robben Island, shark cage diving in Gaansbaai and of course climbed Table Mountain.

The overall experience developed my writing skills and ability as a Journalist. I found it culturally enriching and my understanding of South Africa allowed me to see this beautiful and paradoxical country in a way that most tourists don't get to see. It's one of the most extraordinary experiences of my life and I would recommend it to anyone who wants to get some writing experience and enjoy a beautiful country at the same time.

Criag organised his internship through Projects Abroad.

Written by  Craig Ferriman.

Comments, reviews and questions by other travellers

how can i get industrial attachment in south africa

i am doing Bsc Honours Degree in Journalism and Media Studies at the National University of Science and Technology my academic year end for this semester in June

Kelly, 20yrs Female. Second year journalism student searching for internship in my field. kellyangeliquepnt@gmail.com

1 Reply

Hi Kelly - Best to get in touch with publications you're interested in interning with.

I am Ntombifikile Hlophe who had obtained a Diploma in Journalism,a final year student in BA Communication Science.I am keen to intern to acquire the fundamental basis in mainstream journalism.

i am a second year journalism student looking for internship in gaueng either in print, broadcast or communications.my email address is vincentsitsula@yahoo.com. my no is 0782606420

would i be able to bet internship to any company with my knowledge in journalism?

hey! my name is Zanele Madlebe, Iam studing diploma in journalism at Rosebank College Benoni, its a 2year course therefore I will finish this year, Iam looking for an internship that can help me further, my problem is that there are subject that I supporse to repeat this year so I will have to graduate next year, will I be able to get an internship with the knowledge that I have? you can drop me a mail at pushybabezaza@gmail.com

looking for an internship

hie?

I a an honours student at UCT and am majoring in journalism. I want to know how I can get an internship.

Internship Enquery

Hi my name is Thandi Xaba, I'm studing my final year of Journalism

at Varsity College, the Pretoria campus and would like to know which steps to follow in order to get an internship. Im interested in radio and print. Thanx!

Hi I'm a second year BA student majoring in Media and Film at the University of Cape Town and I would like to know if there was any voluntary work I could do during my semester vacations so that I may gain some experience in the the journalism profession. An internship is not included in my degree so i want to be well equipped for further endeavours

I am Nqwenelwa Jobela and a 2nd year Journalism student in eastern cape and I would like you to assist me when Im looking for an internship next year.I am more interested in print media.

Hi there guys and girls!

I am a South African guy moving into my last year of a BA degree in English literature and creative writing with the goal of a career in journalism and/or copy-writing. My problem is that firstly, I do not know how to proceed towards finding a internship in the industry. The bonus is that I study via correspondence and so my study hours are adaptable to my working day. I would greatly appreciate any information I can get, feel free to drop my an email!! jvdwhellojacques@yahoo.com

i am pursuing my career in journalism and media studies at rosebank college in cape town, i am looking for an internship in journalism.

My name is Kuhle Mkize a final year Journalism student in the Eastern Cape.I am required to seek an Internship for 6 months.

dear:sir/madam

i am a final year student persuing a career in journalism(radio or print).As part of my studies i have to work as an intern for 150 hours,i was hoping you guys could advice or help me.

thank you

Is there any vacancies in the Eastern Cape?

I am a final year student persuing a career in Journalism. As part of my studies I have to work as an intern the final six months

1 Reply

Hi Aretha - click on the link at the bottom of the article to go through to the Projects Abroad site - they're the ones who helped Craig organise his internship. Good Luck!

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