- The Washington Times - Monday, April 23, 2007

“I’ve a had great three weeks “work experience” (as we call it in England) at The Washington Times.

I wasn’t really sure what to expect, often work experience on newspapers in England can mean making the tea — if you’re lucky and spending hours on Google.

But within the first hour of being in the newsroom, I knew things were different in the United States. I was introduced as “an intern” rather than “a worky” and National Editor Ken Hanner had already handed me a story to tackle.

Thanks to Assistant National Editor Stacey McCain, my first evening was spent in the company of politicians and journalists at the launch of “The Clinton Crack Up” by Bob Tyrrell. It was an education in Washington culture, where without a business card you may as well not exist.

The next day Mr. Hanner sent me out to a press conference at The National Press Club. This would definitely not happen on a second day in a British newspaper, especially not including a free lunch.

Nor would a foreign intern in the UK be taken into the press gallery of the Houses of Parliament, but National Desk reporter Julia Duin kindly took me to the press gallery at The Capitol — much more than the normal sightseeing trip would include.

It seems that interns and their internships are taken far more seriously here than they are in the UK, with more opportunities to learn and to be challenged from the start.

I’ve really benefited from that structure. Being treated as a real journalist rather than an inconvenience gives you the confidence to live up to the responsibility you’ve been given. If British newspapers were to adopt such an attitude and culture towards interns, I think it would benefit not only the wannabe journalist but also the newspapers that would get much more from their free labor than a few cups of tea.”

— Joanna Sugden

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