The National Journalism Center
Frequently Asked Questions
About the Application Process:
About Living in Washington:
About the Internships:
About the Training Seminars:
If you have any additional questions, please contact Program Officer Hannah Jackman.
About the Application Process
What do I need in order to complete my application?
There are 5 main components of the NJC application.
- Application (which can be completed online here)
- Cover Letter
- 2-3 Writing Samples (of 5 pages or less; news clips preferred)
- 3 References (letters of recommendation may be submitted only in addition to reference contact information)
- An official college transcript is required upon acceptance into the program. (An intern will not be accepted nor allowed to participate without an official transcript.)
IMPORTANT: Applications will NOT be reviewed until all supplemental materials are received, and candidates will not be accepted into the program with any outstanding materials.
These materials can be e-mailed, faxed, or mailed to the NJC office.
- Email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Fax: Send ATTN: The National Journalism Center to (703) 318-9122 OR
- Mail to:
National Journalism Center
RE: Internship Application
11480 Commerce Park Dr
Reston, VA 20191
What information should I include in my references?
References can be professional, academic or personal. Please include the name of each reference, their affiliation, their relationship to you, their email address and phone number. A total of three references are required.
Do I need letters of recommendation?
You do not need to submit letters of recommendation; full contact information for your references is preferred. You may submit reference letters if you choose, but only in addition to submitting detailed contact information for your references. However, they often slow down the application process and they must be submitted on official letterhead.
What writing samples do you prefer?
Ultimately, we would like interns to have published news clips that best exemplify your talents as a news reporter. However, we recognize that some candidates might not have news clips; if you do not have published material, please send us an academic sample that clearly demonstrates your writing ability (no longer than 5 pages). If you are sending academic samples, we recommend sending them from courses that would related to an internship in Washington, including papers on public policy, economics, business, communications, journalism, etc.
What are you seeking in a candidate?
The National Journalism Center seeks candidates that are dedicated to becoming better journalists, becoming a more responsible reporter, and combating media bias. The most competitive applicants will have demonstrated some previous interest in journalism, whether that's working for their college newspaper, starting their own news blog, or participating in another media internship.
I am not a journalism or communications major. Can I still apply?
Yes, we do accept other social science majors. Many of our past interns have been pursuing degrees in history, political science, economics and philosophy.
I'm a college freshman/sophomore/recent graduate. Am I eligible to apply?
NJC typically accepts college juniors, seniors, and recent graduates. We do, however, accept some exceptional college freshmen and sophomore applicants. At this time, we do not accept high school students.
Can foreign students apply?
We have taken some interns from foreign countries in the past, however, securing an intern visa can be a long and difficult process. For this reason, we limit our acceptance of foreign applicants.
What is the next step in the NJC application process?
When you have submitted all components of your application, your materials will be reviewed by the NJC staff. If we feel that you could potentially be a valuable asset to the NJC program, we will contact you for a series of interviews with staff members, including the academic director. Please note that not all applicants will be granted interviews.
Will I be notified if I am not accepted into the program?
Due to the high volume of applications we receive, applicants will not be notified if they are not selected for an interview nor selected to participate in the program. It is the responsibility of the applicant to stay in touch with NJC to determine the status of their application.
I was not accepted into the program. Can I apply again for another session?
Yes, applicants who are not accepted for a particular term are welcome to apply again. The summer session is particularly competitive; if you are not accepted for the summer term, please feel free to apply again for the fall or spring sessions.
About Living in Washington
Is there any cost to participate in the program? Do interns receive a scholarship for their participation in the program?
There is no cost for interns to participate in the National Journalism Center program. In fact, interns receive a $1,000 monthly scholarship which is pro-rated for partial months. Interns frequently use part or all of their stipend to pay for housing, food, and transportation while in Washington.
Does NJC provide housing for its interns?
NJC itself does not provide housing, however, we do provide you with resources to help you find housing in the area. Housing guides are emailed to interns upon their acceptance into the program and NJC staff are available to answer any questions or concerns you may have about moving to Washington, D.C. It's worth noting that most of our interns come from outside the greater D.C. area and typically have few problems finding housing--provided they start early. It is a very transient city; interns are coming and going at all times of the year, so there are no shortage of options for temporary housing.
About the Internships
When do I find out about my placement?
Participants are notified about their media placements during orientation. However, some media organizations will contact NJC interns for interviews or to set up logistical information; please note that these interviews are in conjunction with the NJC program and are NOT separate internships. Everyone will be notified officially about their placement and provided with contact information for their supervisor during orientation.
How does NJC determine my internship placement?
We take your career interests, previous experience, and your suggestions into consideration and match you with a partnering media outlet at which we believe you will best thrive. You will be notified about your media placement on your first day of orientation and not before.
Where have you placed interns in the past?
Please see the Washington Journalism Internships page to see a short list of some of our past internship placements.
I will be taking classes at school while participating in this internship. Can I do the NJC internship part-time?
Most NJC interns participate in the full-time internship; however, some interns taking classes may participate in the program part-time if arrangements are made with NJC staff in advance.
What is a typical week like?
Interns typically spend between 30 and 35 hours per week at their media placements, and also participate in the NJC weekly training seminar (mandatory). Because news is not 9-5, your internship placement may require you to work some nights or weekends.
About the Training Seminars
What do the training seminars consist of?
The seminars include journalism skills training, writing and grammar exercises, reading assignments, and current event discussions led by NJC's academic director. Each seminar typically features a guest speaker, either a prominent journalist or public policy expert, who will share share their insights into the industry, career advice, or resources for journalists to take advantage of. These sessions are designed to give interns a better understanding of media, society and public policy, and the intersection between the three here in Washington, D.C.
Why should I choose the NJC program?
The NJC not only offers just the opportunities of interning at top notch news organizations, but we offer seminars that will improve your writing and make your skills marketable to prospective employers. The other benefits include hearing from exciting, well-known speakers and connecting with other NJC interns and alumni from across the country and around the world.