Frequently Asked Questions About Sierra's Internship Program
Editorial internships at Sierra, the national magazine of the Sierra Club, provide an overview of the process of selecting and preparing manuscripts for publication. Interns sit in on all editorial meetings and perform a variety of research and fact-checking tasks for our editors. This position requires strong editorial skills and a well-rounded awareness of environmental issues.
Internship periods are winter-spring (January through April), summer (May through August), and fall (September through December). Interns are required to work 20 hours a week; however, the scheduling of these hours is at the intern's discretion. The position is unpaid.
Internship applicants should send a letter describing their qualifications and interests, along with a resume and a brief writing sample to, email@example.com.
In general, the most helpful writing samples show your ability to research facts, organize information, and interview a variety of sources. Journalistic samples are much preferred to research papers and personal essays, please send files as PDFs. If you will be including links in your cover letter, please also submit a copy of your work in PDF format.
Applicants should indicate which internship period they prefer. The deadline for application is March 12 for the summer period, July 16 for the fall period, and November 1 for the winter/spring period.
If you don't find the answer to your question here, please contact the intern manager by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. No phone calls please. We only meet in person with applicants under serious consideration for the internship.
Frequently Asked Questions About Sierra's Internship Program
INTERN DUTIES AND QUALIFICATIONS
Q: What kind of work do interns do?
A: The internships we offer require strong writing, research, and editorial skills, plus a well-rounded awareness of environmental issues. Interns write blog posts and articles for the magazine's website and fact-check all articles for the magazine, an important job that involves conducting follow-up phone interviews with article sources, as well Internet research. Interns may also carry out short- and long-term research or writing projects. As they work, interns interact with each of the editors, attend editorial meetings, and get an overview of the process of selecting and preparing manuscripts for publication. We believe the internship provides a valuable look into the workings of a nationally circulated magazine.
Q: Do interns get to write articles for the magazine?
A: Sometimes, but not always. Interns are encouraged to pitch story ideas, and many have written articles in the past. However, this opportunity hinges on an intern's writing ability and on the magazine's needs at the time of the internship.
Q: What have other interns done after completing the internship?
A: Because our interns come from diverse backgrounds, their careers have taken them in a variety of directions. Previous interns have gone on to work full time for the Sierra Club, as well as for the U.S. Geological Survey and other environmental agencies, an adventure-travel company, a radio station, and a variety of newspapers, magazines, and other publications.
Q: How long do internships last?
A: Four months. We have three sessions each year: spring (January through April), summer (May through August), and fall (September through December).
Q: Are the start and end dates flexible?
A: The dates are somewhat flexible, but preference will be given to qualified candidates who can begin work on the designated start date and continue to the end of the internship session.
Q: Can I volunteer for the magazine for a shorter period?
A: Unfortunately, no. With our small staff, we are unable to train and incorporate short-term or time-limited interns into our research and fact-checking process. If you are interested in pursuing volunteer opportunities with the Sierra Club, we suggest that you contact your local chapter or group. You can find their addresses and phone numbers by using the "My Backyard" menu at the top of our Web site.
Q: Is the internship paid?
A:The position is unpaid, although we do offer a modest local travel reimbursement. Current students are eligible for a modest scholarship, and academic credit may be available (we are willing to provide any documentation necessary to help students get credit at their college or University).
Q: Is your office accessible by public transportation?
A: Our office is centrally located in downtown San Francisco, about a block away from a Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) station, as well as many bus lines. We are also about a 15-minute walk from CalTrain, the rail line to the Peninsula and the South Bay. For more information about local transit options, consult transitinfo.org.
Q: Does the Sierra Club provide housing for interns from out of state?
A: We are not able to provide housing for interns. We can, however, provide information about Bay Area rental resources and post a "housing wanted" notice on our internal bulletin board.
Q: Can I still intern for the magazine while working elsewhere?
A: Actually, most of our interns have other jobs while interning here. Since we can't pay more than a small stipend, we only ask interns to work 20 hours per week. This could be done in five half-days, two or three full days, or whatever combination works for you. We do, however, ask that most of these hours be during the regular work week.
ELIGIBILITY AND INTERVIEWING
Q: What kind of writing sample should I submit?
A: In general, the most helpful samples show your ability to research facts, organize information, and--if possible--interview a variety of sources. A piece of journalism (written either for publication or a class) is much preferred over a research paper or personal essay.
Q: Do you only hire college students?
A: Former interns have ranged from college students to thirtysomething (or older) career-changers. Anyone with a strong science and/or journalism background and an interest in learning about magazine publication is welcome to apply.
Q: Do you accept applications from international students?
A: International candidates are certainly welcome to apply, but they must have an excellent command of the English language, both written and spoken. As a nonprofit organization, we are unable to provide housing for interns. We are also unable to sponsor interns for a visa or work permit.
Q: Do you offer internships for high school students?
A: At this time we do not have any internship positions for high school students. Our interns fact-check the entire magazine, an important responsibility that requires college-level research and communication skills. We generally hire seniors, college graduates, or even graduate students who have had more time to develop their research abilities and editorial background.
STAFF, TEMPORARY, ART, AND OTHER POSITIONS
Q: Do you have jobs available at the magazine instead?
A: There are currently no paid positions available at the magazine. For updated job listings in all departments of the Sierra Club, please check our Web site at sierraclub.org/careers.
Q: Are there any internships available in your art department?
A: We do not offer art, production, or photography internships at this time.
1. 2008 MRI Doublebase; ABC June 30, 2008, Publisher's Statement