The Washington Post announced a new slate of open internships Monday and their requirements drew ire from career journalists like Soledad O’Brien and Eric Michael Garcia.
The newspaper’s Twitter account shared that the open roles for next summer include reporter, photographer, videographer, multiplatform editor/producer, designer, graphic reporter/developer, social media producer and audio producer, then added, “Students must have had previous experience in a major newsroom.”
They must also be juniors, seniors or graduate students as of the application deadline on Oct. 6.
Condemnation came swiftly. Garcia, the Independent’s D.C. correspondent,, tweeted, “The previous experience in a ‘major newsroom’ cuts off and limits countless people from community college students to people from smaller colleges and hometowns. That term also casts an unnecessarily vague net.”
Numerous journalists shared their view that the requirement for students to have “major newsroom” experience would leave out talented workers and elevate privileged ones. Capital B Atlanta’s editor-at-large Jewel Wicker wrote, “As someone who works to place interns in newsrooms, this makes me so sad. Every single day this industry shows us they’re not serious about fixing the inequities in journalism.”
Los Angeles Times senior editor Matt Brennan observed, “I would not have qualified for this internship two years ago: My first job in a ‘major newsroom’ is the one I have now.” Similarly, Arpon Basu, the editor-in-chief of the Athletic Montreal, said he got his first experience in a major newsroom through an internship.
Austin American-Statesman reporter Nicole Foy pointed out that even smaller papers than the Post are “selective,” adding, “Journalism asks where the pipeline is and then obliterates the pipeline.”
Finally, veteran journalist O’Brien summed up the opposition like this: “If you are currently a college junior who is looking for a newsroom internship and has already had prior experience working ‘in a major newsroom’ your daddy is probably employed there. Good luck!”
A representative for The Washington Post did not immediately return a request for comment.