Catalina Camia came to Portland State on Wednesday to provide tips on landing an internship or job in print journalism, and discussed the importance of minority staff members in the newsroom.
Camia is a diversity fellow with the Freedom Forum, a nonpartisan international foundation dedicated to free press and free speech issues. The Freedom Forum was established in 1991 by Allen H. Neuharth.
The Freedom Forum funds two independent affiliates, the Newseum, an interactive museum of news in Arlingington, Va., and the First Amendment Center, a program for schools to teach students the rights and responsibilities as citizens of democracy under the First Amendment.
Camia served as the national president of the Asian American Journalists Association in 1999-2000 and is on leave from news correspondent duty at The Dallas Morning News.
Camia said there are about 15 daily newspapers per state, and only 12 percent of the workforce are people of color and only 40 percent are women. There are not enough women and minorities, she said.
“Having people from different background makes a difference,” she said. It is important to incorporate the voices of color people, homosexuals, men and women, she added.
Interested students can participate in the Chips Quinn Scholar Program, a year-round program designed to increase the number of minority students in the newsroom and provide support to them.
Through the program, students will get a paid internship at a newspaper for a duration of 10 or 12 weeks, a $1000 scholarship upon completion of the program, a $500 housing stipend, a week in Washingtong D.C. for intensive training and seminars, and other benefits.
Although the program is tailored for minority college students, Camia encouraged students in general to participant.
Some of the tips she provided was to start sending internship applications early in the year, contact the state press association, and network with people in the profession.
General tips included improving writing skills for those interested in reporting and working at student publications. For more general tips in journalism, visit www.poynter.org.
Camia said the best degree is not necessarily in journalism, but a wide range of background education. A Liberal arts degree would probably be better than a journalism degree, she said.
Another helpful tip is to always have your resume and samples of work handy because, as Camia said, you never know who you’ll run into.
To learn more about the internship program, visit www.chipsquinn.org. For more info on the Freedom Forum, log on www.freedomforum.org.