Welcome to another episode of Intern-view, where The Border Collective interviews former interns of interesting and cool places and where we ask what’s their advice for the next batch of interns.
Please note that any company featured in this series is in no way endorsed by and from TBC. No one’s advocating that you should go intern at our featured places. We just thought that these people had stories and projects that were great to share.
Today’s episode is extra exciting as it’s our very first Intern-view from outside Manila!
Shaneika Edryce T. Lim, an incoming senior under BFA Major in Creative Writing, pursuing the Nonfiction track, interned at Cebu Daily News back in May 2015. CDN falls under the Inquirer Publications umbrella and during the 2015 summer, CDN had the pleasure of hosting Shane as their intern.
Like I said, Shane is an intellectual threat; she’s as sharp as a blade, and can pull insights out of anything. So it’s not surprise that her “Facts About Me” involve the following.
- I analyze marketing and PR strategies for fun. As stressful as the elections were, it was interesting to watch the candidates’ strategies for engaging the public.
- I am passionate about pop culture and all its facets. (Read: huge geek)
- I have co-written a published newspaper article about a cyber-sex crime ring bust.
- I once earned big bucks by selling a teacher’s specified brand of ballpen every Saturday for my high school accounting class.
- I help manage an awesome up-and-coming blog that gives out helpful advice to drive young people to succeed. (Shoutout to The Border Collective!)
When asked about what she wanted to do in the future, Shane kept true to her multi-faceted self.
“I have multiple future dream jobs, haha, and I wish I could have it all. I want to work in PR, steer my family’s businesses in the right direction, work for a big publishing company so I can influence what future generations will deem as literature, and write for a TV show (notice me, Netflix).”
Isn’t she lovely? I met Shane, when we were freshman, and I can’t remember how, but I know we instantly connected because I never felt like she’s someone you have to tiptoe around.
She’s easygoing, and amiable, able to talk about anything under the sun but she won’t let anyone go through life ignorant of society’s political nuances. You cannot be racist or sexist around Shane, and expect to leave her presence either uninformed or unscathed. She will correct you.
The things she shares on Facebook always make me feel like a more informed member of society, and I hope everyone on Earth has a friend like Shane. If I keep going, I’ll just keep gushing about how great Shane is, so let’s move on.
Thanks for reading and hope Shane answered something useful for you!
How did you find and pick this internship?
So I spent the first few months of my summer vacation helping out at the family restaurant, but my mom could see that watching the counter and making change wasn’t enough to stimulate me for the rest of the long break.
She insisted I apply for internships to newspaper publications to add some meat to my bare-bones resume, despite my constant reminders of the fact that creative writing is NOT journalism.
I initially applied for the Philippine Star, since their offices were conveniently located near my mother’s own place of work. However, they never got back to me (I later learned that this was because they had a surplus of interns, many of whom I met during beats, because at least 3 of them were often assigned to one job.)
I subsequently applied to Cebu Daily News via calling the HR office and asking for an internship. The HR head graciously gave me a time and date for a short interview, and within a week, I began my month-long homage to Lois Lane.
Why did you choose to intern?
I didn’t have a lot to do during the three-month interlude I was home, and I thought, ‘Hey, maybe it’d be a good idea to follow in the footsteps of my accomplished always-interning friend Justine!’
How was the experience of applying and being interviewed for the internship?
It was a pretty nerve-wracking process.
You see, I grew up reading Cebu Daily News and the Philippine Star (Yes, I read the newspapers. I was a sad child.), and had already been rejected by one of them, without so much as an email explaining why.
So when CDN offered to interview me I had to make sure I would make a good first impression. I spent the day before picking out which works I wanted to include in my portfolio and what I would wear, practicing my handshake, and formulating answers to potential interview questions.
When the day of the interview came I was so nervous I started peeling off the label of my water bottle, just for something to do. So when the interview went smoothly, I left the office feeling dazed.
I think the HR head was impressed that I wasn’t doing this for college credit, and admittedly, the whole ‘Atenean’ thing probably carried a little weight. Cebu still tends to be a little starstruck by Manila, even though she would never confess to it.
What would you say are the skills you needed when you applied? Did you pick up any new skills through your internship?
Given that my course is Creative Writing, I wasn’t that good at the direct and to-the-point way that journalism usually tends to write itself. I used to write for my high school paper, but it was usually fluff pieces and editorial work, given that we only published once a semester.
I also have trouble with being concise sometimes. Much like when I speak, my writing tends to ramble on.
Learning how best to summarize important points is a really valuable skill, especially for formal reports and even resume-writing.
What was your expectation for the internship? How did the actual experience compare?
On the first day of the job, I posted a picture of the paper’s name on a plaque, with the caption, “Lois Lane, I’m following in your footsteps.” As far as expectations go, I was expecting that, of course minus the hunky superhero masquerading as a shy coworker, although I could dream.
The actual experience was not as glamorous, but in between the long commute back and forth from the office to different locations, I got to see a lot of things.
Learning about the news firsthand got me excited about being more involved in what was going on around my city. It was great to see that there were people actually working towards the betterment of the community.
One of my first assignments was to cover an awarding ceremony for police officers involved in multiple successful drug busts.
It wasn’t all great though, because around the time I was interning, Cebu was suffering from the a drought that summer. I sat in the meeting when the then-governor declared a state of calamity. The bulk of my internship was spent covering the measures taken to assuage the drought.
One memorable report was that the government had already set aside a budget to implement a long-term solution to the water problem, but the trouble was implementing it required a seal of approval from Malacanang, which they had been waiting for since the GMA administration.
I was exposed to a lot of different realities, and it was my job to be as honest and accurate as I possibly could when I depicted them. It reminded me the reality of working as a reporter wasn’t the same as it was often made out to be on TV.
Media has a powerful influence, and it relies on honest and intrepid newsagents to give the people the full view of any situation.
What did you do during your internship? What kinds of tasks and projects were you given? Did you volunteer to take on a task yourself?
Each week I was assigned to a different senior reporter who covered a different spot around the city. The first week I schmoozed it up with local politicians at the Capitol, where the governor’s offices are.
Well, it wasn’t so much schmoozing as it was hurriedly taking down notes and politely shoving my tablet into their faces to record their interviews.
The week after that I was assigned to the courthouses, which mostly involved sifting through documents for minor or major cases to report on. I also had to document a rally there, and afterwards we covered a case concerning a cybersex crime ring bust.
After that, I was asked to cover fluff pieces, such as one on the opening of classes for different public schools, and on a rally against the K-12 curriculum.
What would you say were the best parts about your internship?
Getting paid! CDN wants their interns to have the full journalistic experience, so that includes getting paid for each article you write or co-write.
Seeing my name on the by-line was the next best part, especially for any article I wrote alone. Also, the free food. Reporters are given a lot of free food, often buffets.
And of course, the fact that the office staff were so nice to me. They treated me just like an equal, even though I was just an intern, and they often asked for my opinions regarding the articles or any other current events.
What would you say were the worst parts about your internship (or interning in general)?
The application process tends to be disheartening, and although most workplaces value ideas and opinions from their interns, sometimes they take you for granted too. It’s easy to get dismissed when you’re young, or when you’re different.
I remember one week where I felt so uncomfortable because the senior reporter I was assigned to, while a nice guy, would not stop going on about how I was Chinese, as if that was my only talking point.
It felt stifling and annoying, but the reality of interning, and of working in general, is that there will always be assumptions based on your outward appearance that you have to overcome.
If you could go back in time to the first day of your internship, what is one piece of advice you would have given yourself?
Get ready to spend a lot on the commute. And speak up! The senior reporters want to hear your thoughts. You’re not just there as a secretary of some sort.
Also, download that voice recorder app early.
What would you say was your greatest learning from interning?
The realization of just how major the impact of media is on the public opinion. It reminded me of the reason behind my decision to take up a writing degree; because one of my favorite books (The Book Thief by Markus Zusak just in case y’all wanna look it up) showed me just how powerful words could be.
It’s easy to skew the truth; people do it all the time on social media. When the job began, the head of HR sat me down and explained that in cases of bribery, we should never accept the money, or use it for ourselves. If they insisted on giving it to us, we had to turn it over to the office. We could however, choose the charity we could donate it to.
No one tried to bribe me, but from day one, I realized that it takes a lot to get the truth out there, and I appreciate having worked for a newspaper dedicated to doing just that.
What was the most interesting thing you’ve done while interning?
Hands-down, the most interesting thing I ever did during the internship, and probably my lifetime, was to try and interview three Korean men who were arrested for being behind a cyber-sex operation.
They were escorted by the police and everything! They were cuffed to each other or an officer, so they had one free hand to cover their faces, and would not answer any questions. We talked to their lawyer instead.
That was a really difficult article to write, but it made me feel legit. I guess you could say that was my Lois Lane moment haha.
What advice would you give anybody who wants or is about to start interning?
In the words of Nike and Shia LaBeouf, “JUST DO IT!!!”
It may seem like a scary thing, going out and putting yourself out there to be possibly rejected by different companies, but that’s what’s going to happen when we graduate anyway, so you may as well start getting used to it. 🙂 Joking, but really,
as much as rejection sucks, it can never hurt to try, and in the end you will still learn something.
Maybe you need to rework your resume, or maybe you just need to put yourself more out there, but the whole experience of interning is just the slice of real life we need to realize that maybe adulthood isn’t so scary, and may even be fun.
Do you have anything else you want to say to the readers?
Thanks for reading my long-ass post, friends. Tune in to The Border Collective for more of the same great content!
In case you have no idea where you are, welcome to The Border Collective, where any question you’ve got on internships, resumes, or careers in the PH can and will be answered. I’m Justine, founder and writer of all things here.
Intern-view is a whole category where we ask people who’ve interned at other places here in Manila to share their experiences and advice for anyone and everyone’s reading. Hopefully from their experiences you’ll feel like there’s a lot more possibilities out there. We want you to feel like sky’s the limit for you!
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