Why I’m not interning this summer

I turned down a summer internship to work at The University Daily Kansan. That’s right. Instead of working for a professional paper, I’ll be editing Kansan stories for the Web every day and proofing pages for the weekly print edition. Am I crazy? My faculty mentor thinks so. I admit my resume is taking a hit, but here’s why it’s the right choice for me.

Portrait of professionalism: College journalists have unique ideas about personal space.

1. More responsibility. I’m the only summer copy editor, so any mistakes or missed deadlines fall on my shoulders. But every great headline or skillfully reworked story is guaranteed to be my handiwork.

2. More variety. I’ll be editing features and sports in addition to the standard campus and event stories. Professional papers seem strictly divided between city, sports and features —something I never liked or understood. Editing the entire paper allows me to become a more versatile editor.

3. Better hours. Because The Kansan prints weekly in the summer, I can edit the majority of stories during the day and keep my nights and weekends free. I’m a morning person (or I was before I started editing) and this is probably my only opportunity ever to work normal hours as a copy editor.

4. Unbeatable work environment. There’s something special about working on a staff made up entirely of 20-somethings. The newsroom is a little loud. And we’ve been known to play wiffle ball or four square during breaks. The professionalism isn’t always there, but we all still believe in the profession.

5. Little things. We have the Adobe Suite. I’ll already be on campus taking a summer class. Our newsroom is next door to the only Chick Fil-A in Lawrence.

I really like the paper that offered me an internship and I would enjoy working there at another time. But working for a student newspaper is just the right call for me right now.  Instead of building my resume, I’m building my skills. I’m a little nervous about explaining this choice to future employers, but that’s another problem for another time.

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