Diary of an internship: Week 1

The beginning of this week saw the start of my two week internship at the Hawke’s Bay Today newspaper.

I will be honest, as the days drew nearer to start the internship, I felt no motivation to go and in fact, I was dreading it.  On Sunday night, I had the worst night’s sleep I had had in a long time. I think I was awake more of the night that I was actually asleep. The internship was on my mind the entire night and I couldn’t help but think everything would just go bad for me. All of my stories would be rubbish and no one would think I was a good journalist and despite my nearly three years of training, I wouldn’t know enough.

As I woke up on Monday morning, I tried to tell myself that it really wouldn’t be as bad as I anticipated. Like most things that I think will be a horrible experience actually turn out to be perfectly fine and I wonder why I was ever worried in the first place.

Arriving at the office, everyone was so warm and welcoming. I was introduced to everyone and was made to feel a part of the team right away. No being treated like a student who didn’t know, rather a reporter just like any other at the paper.

Here is a run down of what I got up to each day:


First story up was one from an email that was sent to the news desk. Some Napier students were in Alkmaar, Netherlands competing in the International Children’s Games. One of the students, a swimmer, had received four medals at the Games. I emailed around the contacts and awaited a reply. There was a 10 hour time difference so I started to research the story a bit more.

I then worked on a story about two filmmakers who had previously filmed an Oscar short-listed documentary in Hawke’s Bay. Their latest film was coming to the New Zealand International Film Festival. I used the press release and other reviews to get an idea of what the film was about. I then turned this around into a story.


I heard back about from the Netherlands team and put together the story about the medal winning swimmer.

Seeing as it was the first of July the next day, I did a story for Dry July. This is where for the month of July you abstain from drinking alcohol for charity. I interviewed one chap on the phone after he replied to the Facebook post asking for businesses participating.  I then interview a woman who had a great reason for doing the challenge. Her father passed away last year from cancer and wanted to support the Cancer Society in his memory.  Just when I thought my story as all finished, I was told the The Hits radio station’s Hawke’s Bay breakfast announcer was also doing the challenge. Having a household name in the story would make it more interesting to people so I got on the phone to him in the afternoon. I like to say I interviewed a celebrity, even if it was only a New Zealand one. Ok, maybe he is just a Hawke’s Bay celebrity!


Waking up on Wednesday I walked down to the letterbox at 7 am so I could read the paper over breakfast. To my surprise, I saw not just the Games story, but the film and Dry July stories too!  I was so thrilled and proud of myself. It was an amazing feeling seeing my name in print like that in a regional newspaper. I got on the phone straight away to Mum and Dad to let them know.

Pretty chuffed, I arrived at the office ready to start a new day with all new stories to write.  First up, field trip into Napier. On Tuesday, news hit that a student from Napier Girls’ High School had been stood down from school due to a speech she did about how teachers just hand out sheets of paper to read off and “sit around and do nothing”.  This had the been the front page story of the morning’s paper.  I had to go into the main street of Napier and ask people on the street what they thought about her being stood down. In other words, doing ‘vox pops’. Having not done this before, I was quite nervous but found everyone nice enough to politely decline or they would stop for a chat.

Getting back to the office after typing these up, I was asked to go to the press conference of this stand down case, the student was holding. I had to film the press conference for website content. I was excited to go and see a press conference happen in the flesh and not just what I see on the news or even worse, TV shows. The press conference was great and I was treated like a real journalist not just like a student who had to stand back and watch.  Returning to the office, I had to put together the videos so they were ready for the website. You can see these videos here, here and here.


After the excitement of Wednesday’s press conference, I wondered what Thursday would bring. I headed out to interview some American university students interning at Hohepa Farms in Clive, Hawke’s Bay. This was for a story I was doing about Massey University’s new internship programme in partnership with local agriculture and horticulture businesses.

I had to be quick back to the office to get to the next interview, Havelock North Intermediate versus Heretaunga Intermediate rugby match. I was again the videographer for this interview. I videoed both coaches interviews and popped them up on the website here and here. Both coaches speak of the inspirational, determined and legendary New Zealand rugby player, the late Jarrod Cunningham.  The intermediate teams were playing for the cup named after him.


Bit of a quite one today, just wrote some very small 3 sentence stories off press releases and stories people had sent in to be featured. These would be for the stories in brief sections of the paper. The best thing of Friday though was being asked to do a feature piece for next Saturday’s edition! Super excited and grateful to have been asked. Now I have to get my thinking cap on and get an idea while also scrubbing up on my feature writing skills.   Any ideas, please feel free to throw them my way.


I need to include Saturday here because this was the day my internship story was featured in the paper. Another proud moment.

Well there you have it, a very exciting and rewarding week, with some great new experiences. You can look forward to week two of the internship diary next week.

Stay tuned,

Emma x

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