Internship @ The Hindu, Delhi: Exciting Work; Tons to Learn, No Stipend

Name. College. Year of Study:  Tanya Singhal. Amity Law School, Noida. 3rd year

Name of the organization. City:  The Hindu (Features Department), New Delhi.

How big was the office? Team strength? I worked in the Features Department. So it was a team of 8 people headed by the Deputy Editor Mr. Ziya Us Salam.

Application procedure. Internship contact details: It’s better to personally go to the office (between 3-4pm). That’s when you’ll meet Ziya Sir. Then you’ll be called for a written test, qualifying which you start your internship.

Duration in weeks. No. of days/week. Timings6 weeks. The usual period is 4 weeks which can be extended to 6 weeks with permission. 6 days a week. 11.30am to 5.30pm. But you will be required to travel for your stories so the timings vary. But the office timings for you remain 11.30 to 5.30.

Accommodation: how, where, how was it?  I did not need a PG, so no comments!

First impression. First day, formalities etc.-  Ah the first day! It was like a dream. And I never wanted to wake up.

So I went to the office, was told to go through a few copies of Metroplus (the Hindu supplement for which we were about to write) and given a system which you can call your own for the next 4 weeks of your internship.

Then I rushed off to Gurgaon to cover a new collection by Ms. Preeti Chandra (fashion designer).  But before going I was briefed by Ziya Sir as to how to go about the work.

Introducing yourself as someone from The Hindu, it makes you so proud that you just cannot keep that smile off your face. Anyways, with a nice table laid down offering cheese and crackers and a pick up and drop off service (that’s something that stuck to my mind), what else do you need for a perfect start?

So that’s how great my 1st day was, but for a small glitch- I wasn’t dressed to face a fashion designer! (Got rid of those shoes the very same day! You never know where you might be sent next.) The Conclusion from 1st day: I can work here forever (and this was when I wasn’t getting any stipend!).

Main tasks (in detail):  You’ll be given assignments, where you’ll be given events to cover from book launches to press conferences. It may range from fashion to art to books to music and meeting with the stars. You’ll be required to interview people from all walks of life, on telephone or personally, and opportunities to pitch in your own feature stories.

All stories need to be sent to a particular ID (which you’ll be given) and should have a heading and a head deck (a short line about the story) in place.

Everything works through a PR manager of the event or person, unless you have an independent story you want to contribute for which you’ll have to contact people and research on your own (you can ask for help in contacting people who can’t be easily reached, if your story calls for it).

Quotes form the most important part of your story. Pictures are also a must. You can get assignments from anyone from the team. But at the end of the day, you have to report to Ziya Sir.

Work environment, people: The work environment at The Hindu has by far been the most relaxing that I’ve come across. It’s different in the sense that the people are very nice, helpful and you start writing on the 1st day itself (as opposed to other newspaper organizations!) You can approach them in case of doubts.

The environment is laid back, but be sure to submit your articles on time and in the manner prescribed. Therefore even if you won’t feel a pressure from your seniors directly, you’ll want to submit quality work on time so as to not let them down or ruin your impression. It all comes from within.

And there will always be some intern or the other who will be able to help you with the basic adjustments and small details.

Best things The coffee. Since I interned during winters, a steaming cup of CCD coffee every now and then made my day. A warm cozy cubicle with co-interns just makes your time fly by. And meeting new people! Plus the office is 5 minutes walking distance from Patel Chowk metro station, so no connectivity problem.

Bad things : There’s nothing bad as such. You might be required to travel to places till late in the evening, but very seldom.

What did you do to chill? Co-interns, colleagues There is no fixed lunch time for all, so whenever hungry we either used to go to INS canteen just behind the office, or have kachori-sabzi at the office exit gate. There’s also a canteen at the top floor in the office. And if you aren’t in a rush to reach home after office ends, you can always take a nice walk to the Inner Circle, CP.

Stipend/ month:  None

Anything else you’d like to tell  : Understanding the assignment and what kind of a story is wanted from you is very important. Never proceed with doubts in your mind.

Also, it’s always better to gather as much information as you can and cut according to what and how long a story you need. Never restrict yourself to the number of questions you ask or details you jot down.

Biggest lessons : I know what you’re wondering- what’s in it for a law student? So yes, even if there were neither any case files to read nor any report making to do, there was plenty that I learnt.

First of all, you need to take care of your word limit, so filtering the data and separating the important from the unimportant is very essential (a plus for a law student). Also, like any other job, you have to submit your story (with pictures) on time.

Thirdly, the interviews. You need to get information from them, but how do you do that when you have a hostile celebrity? So you learn to ask questions in a way that is likely to get answered, without offending the person on the other end. Keeping the reader’s interest in mind is also one of the most important things while writing.

But personally for me, I learnt to handle criticism in a work environment. I did goof up once, was told what to do and then I worked my level best to improve. You also get to know the power of a newspaper agency that too as reputed as The Hindu. For instance, while doing a story on a now closed cinema hall, people were not comfortable opening up and sharing details.

Even the concerned authorities did not want to comment even though there was nothing to hide. But that’s how it is in journalism I guess. You just learn how to tackle people and mold your ways to get the work done.

Who would have thought I would meet with stars like Leander Paes and Jimmy Shergill, witness beautiful artwork by artist Satish Gupta and talk to people like Kunal Kapoor, all through one internship!

In a nutshell , it was an enriching experience full of learning and enjoyment. It’s not as if there’s absolutely nothing related to law, but there’s not everything related to law either.

You have to accept what comes your way and write! It is feature writing after all and you’ll enjoy every second of it.

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