Team Managers: Tatiana Nadyseva (Berlin) and Kim Thelwell (New Jersey)
1. Internship Tracker: This document outlines your weekly assignments and expectations. Your manager will have sent you access to the Google Doc to be used throughout the internship.
Begin working on your Week 1 assignments today. We recommend that you look through the document and plan your weeks accordingly. Some weeks are more time-intensive than others.
Each week’s tasks are to be completed by 11PM PST each Friday.
As this is a ‘live’ document, there is no need for a copy to be sent to your manager. They will access the document throughout the week to check your progress each week.
2. Internship Requirements: We don’t require you to keep track of hours, but you are expected to meet the weekly requirements in order to get credit for the internship. Not completing the weekly assignments is the equivalent of not showing up to work. The following is the minimum required for the successful completion of the internship.
- Create 10 high-quality articles during the course of your internship. If the article is rushed, poorly researched and/or too short, then our editors will not publish it.
- Complete a personal fundraising campaign and raise a minimum of $500.
- Meet all weekly requirements on the Tracker.
- Contact your 3 congressional offices each week in support of poverty-reduction programs and legislation. This is data that we track, and will know if you are simply crossing it off the tracker, or if you are actually doing it.
3. The Writer’s Guidebook and Choosing Original Article Topics: Read and watch these thoroughly. They contain everything you need to create great posts and wow your editors. With telecommuting roles, we can’t train you in person, so it’s important to read the directions closely. The Writers’ Guidebook and training videos are your keys to success here!
4. Topics to Cover: You will start out by covering one SEO topic on the tab “Practice Articles” of the News Team & Assignment Desk document. Pick your topic and add your name in the author column. You will receive direct feedback about your practice article in week 2, which you will need to work with and resubmit your practice article in week 2, before moving forward with new articles in week 3.
When you are ready to submit your article, embed your completed article into an individual email, and send it to [email protected]. Be sure to include the title, key term and sources in your email. Do not send articles as Word documents. Send your article as soon as it’s complete.
5. Week 3 Onwards: Before writing, you’ll need to get your article topics approved. Put your topic ideas into the “(Current Month’s) Articles” tab as early as possible. Once approved, you can begin researching and writing. Your manager will send you instructions at the end of week 2 for submitting your articles from week 3 onwards. Note – we do not accept article submissions that were not approved through the required method.
You need to write within the two categories you chose when you were hired. However, if you are ever compelled by a topic that of these two chosen areas, you are welcome to deviate for that article. Please just send a note to your manager before you begin. Check out the Links and Categories tab for further information on your categories.
NOTE: Thick skin is required. Since the beginning of the written word, Writers have been annoyed with Editors… And likewise, Editors get annoyed when they see the same mistakes over and over (mistakes that could have been avoided by reading the Writers’ Guide Book in more detail). By nature of the editing process, your articles are going to be corrected more often than they will be praised. To be sure, you won’t agree with every edit… Sometimes they even miss-edit and add mistakes… So annoying. We get it. In many newsrooms, the nature of the roles can create lots of friction. We are a drama-free newsroom. If you see an error in one of your published articles, please notify [email protected]
Things to Know
1. Pick a Weekly Schedule: Telecommuting offers tremendous freedom, however without a set schedule, it will be very difficult to complete this internship successfully. It becomes very easy to wait until the end of the week and find yourself speed typing poor-quality articles or missing weekly targets. Either scenario can result in losing your internship.
2. News Team & Assignment Desk: This document covers who’s writing what, topics for articles, key research links and it contains lots of helpful info.
- News Team: Everyone involved with the News Team and their roles.
- (Current Month’s)Articles: List the articles you are working on under this tab. Double-check that no one else is already covering the topic.
- Practice Articles: Please help yourself to any articles that haven’t been taken for week 1. Enter your name in the “Selected by” column.
- Links & Categories: This is hugely helpful for finding good sites to monitor for story ideas. Make sure you read the Magazine categories carefully! It’s very important that writers covering a magazine category find articles that fit the criteria.
3. Congressional Outreach: Everyone volunteering for The Borgen Project participates in basic advocacy and contacts their congressional leaders weekly. Congressional offices tally how many times they are contacted about each issue, so your emails and calls matter! You should get in the habit of emailing your congressional leaders from here. It is very simple and remembers your information so each week you’ll only have to choose a new piece of legislation and the site will fill in your letter for you. We notice if you don’t email your congressional leaders, so please do.
4. Fundraising: Our funding levels determine our impact levels. It’s that simple. Like weekly calls to congress, everyone who is part of the team steps up and participates in fundraising. Bookmark the fundraising ideas page and start planning your campaign. You’ll want to hit the $500 minimum raise within the first 6 weeks of your internship.
5. Training and Orientation: Attend training and orientation meetings the first Monday of your internship, at 9am PST.
6. Difference Between our Journalists and Writers: Interviews. Journalists are expected to write in-depth articles and interview people for their stories.
7. Kudos: With team members spread across the globe, our approach to awards is fairly low key. While we’d love to present winners with a giant trophy at a ceremony, we recognize that it would create overhead and the majority of our winners would prefer to see the funding go to helping the poor. Twice per year, Political and Fundraising awardees will be invited to participate in an exclusive round table event to share their ideas and feedback. Do take a look at the milestones and let us know when you qualify.
8. Stay informed with The Borgen Project State of the Union. The organization’s monthly updates are published on this page. Every month we highlight the achievements of Borgen Project high achievers across the country and globally. If you go above and beyond the call of duty in your fundraising, lobbying or mobilizing efforts, you too, may be featured!
Can I fast forward ahead on the weekly targets? Yes. As you finish the current week’s assignments, you are more than welcome to skip ahead.
Can I miss a week? If needed, you may take one week off during the course of your internship. Notify your supervisor beforehand and make note of it in your Weekly Tracker. Missing a week pauses where you are on the Weekly Tracker, so simply pickup where you left off.
Journalism Position In-Depth
Journalistic Writers operate like regular writers, with the following difference: At least a third of their articles must be Journalistic in nature- articles based on original investigative reporting of some sort. This reporting could include:
- Interviews – Know someone who is involved in the fight against poverty? Ask to schedule an interview or, if that’s not possible, try emailing them a list of questions. Skype interviews work great as well!
- Events – Is there a human rights rally in your city? Is an NGO holding a fundraiser? Go out to the event and write an article about it!
- Travel – Are you traveling to a region with extreme poverty? Do you have contacts there from previous travel? Writing a first-hand report on the people and conditions in a developing nation would make for a great article.
- Political – Is your representative back in your district? Do you happen to live in Washington D.C.? Try visiting your political leaders and writing an article about it. Check with your manager for more instructions before you try this one.
Requirements for a Journalistic Article:
- 600 words minimum
- Draws on your own original reporting
- Cites reputable sources to put the article in context (for example, if you were writing about a UNICEF event, you will need a couple of credible sources to explain more about UNICEF and their work)
7 Tips for Landing an Interview
- Present yourself professionally. Please drop the word “intern” from your title. Yes, you are in an internship program BUT when you are reaching out to potential interview subjects please refer to yourself as a journalist or writer for The Borgen Project because that’s exactly who you are. This should also be in your email signature as well.
- Give a quick intro about TBP. Let them know The Borgen Project is an advocacy organization fighting global poverty and that we have hundreds of thousands of visitors to borgenproject.org each month. In addition, between January and October 2019, more than 6 million people visited borgenproject.org — this lets them know that an interview with you will be excellent exposure for them.
- Give an example of a Borgen Project story that will be similar to the one you want to write. For instance, if you are interviewing the founder of a nonprofit, you could send them this post – https://www.borgenmagazine.com/tackling-tb-in-kenya/
- Give them options in terms of the format. “I would be happy to conduct this interview via email or whichever format is most convenient for you e.g. over the phone or via Skype.”
- Follow up within 2-3 business days. Sometimes people simply miss your first note or they haven’t had the chance to respond as yet. It doesn’t hurt to send them a quick note e.g. “Dear ____, I hope all is well. Just wanted to follow up to see if you had a chance to review my email requesting an interview about your work in Kenya. I look forward to hearing from you.”
- Send your interview questions after you receive a favorable response. For email interviews, try to get your questions over to your interview subject within 1 business day.
- Create and send an interview transcript with your article submission. Click here to view the transcript provided for the TB article linked above.
A Final Note: We know that conducting interviews might be new and scary. But we promise it is also enriching and exciting once you implement these tips.