Enda Dowling gives us an insight into what he has learned from interning at the Irish Independent.

“It’s like the difference between hurling Junior C in Laois and then making the step up to senior inter-county.” These were the wise words of a former lecturer as he tried to mentally prepare me for the newsroom of Ireland’s best selling newspaper.

Truth be told, I was a little hurt that said lecturer, who has scant little sporting perspective, pulled the perfect analogy out of what I consider to be my own area of expertise while also managing to insult my native county in one fell swoop. He was 100% right. 

It’s been six very tough weeks – but six absolutely fascinating weeks. Daily bouts of anxiety-paralysis aside, it’s reinforced my desire that one day I want to work full time as a news reporter.

Apologies for using the cliché of choice for every work experience and intern now, but I genuinely did learn more in more in my first two weeks here than I did in four years of a college. It has woken me up to something I’ve known for quite a while now, but didn’t want to admit. I no longer really see the validity of journalism courses.

What is taught in three/four year journalism degrees could easily be dished out over a semester or two. It doesn’t prepare you for the work place, but at the same time, how could it? What you really need to know can only be done through practicals and I’m only just now beginning to pick it up.

I would honestly regard recent graduates of economics, politics and law to be closer to the finished article of a “qualified” journalist. They are certainly a more rounded prospect.

Thankfully though, this internship has given me a lot of reasons to be hopeful about a possible future in the media. I understand the frustrations of student-hacks who are sick and tired of seeing shitty jobbridge placements and dead-end freelance work for no pay. At the end of August, I’ll have racked up nine months of apprentice scribe-work, seven of which came from my University of Limerick Co-Op placement in a regional title.

But I refuse to believe that there aren’t chances out there for those of us who want to write. There’s a theory gathering momentum among graduated journos that unless you are related by blood or politics to someone in the industry, you have no chance. 

I’m proof that it’s just a conspiracy. Here I am – pure bog water from the expansive Nathin’— and I’ve been given a chance.  What I’ll do with it is a different matter entirely.

This weeks’ standouts
  • Liverpool legend John Barnes giving me (nay, screaming at me) odds of a 1,000,000-1 on anyone outside the top four winning the premiership.  A surreal day, that was.

  • A vain moment: seeing my by-line, shared with another Indo intern and Campus.ie regular Hannah Popham, appear on the RTE News at six and at nine. It took a lot of ground work and not many people took notice but for one day, we created the narrative rather than just respond to it. 

Fair low points
  • Being the quintessential culchie and failing at some of the absolute basics of life in Dublin.

  • Realising that come May 2014 I’ll definitely owe John Barnes £100.