5 Things YOU Need to Know about a Newspaper Internship

Planning to get an internship at a newspaper? Really excited? As you should be, it’s an amazing opportunity but there are some things you ought to keep in mind before you start. Coming from a current newspaper intern, trust me, take a couple of minutes and read this because it’ll definitely be worth your while.

#1 If you love writing as a hobby, you may not like it as a career.

As the saying goes, “Don’t mix business with pleasure.” If you tend to write on a whim or based on sudden inspiration in a sporadic pattern, then you may not like writing with time constraints and deadlines looming ahead of you. On the other hand, you may love it just as much. In the end, it depends whether you are extrinsically or intrinsically motivated.

#2 Your mentor may or may not be responsive to your enthusiasm and overflowing ideas.

If you’re lucky you’ll be able to work under an attentive mentor but if not, don’t worry it’s not personal, I assure you. Newspaper organisations are always busy from the word go and so is your boss. He or she may not have time to pay you individual attention. What you can do is ask them for a few spare minutes and use them to pitch a few of your best ideas and gather his or her feed back.

#3 Don’t be disappointed if your work doesn’t get published in the paper.

If your plan  is purely to get published, you’re going in with the wrong attitude. Interns are supposed to learn and if you get a by-line along the way, then kudos to you but what you take away from the internship should be experience (and if you’re lucky enough to get a paid internship, then a little moolah too).

Gate-keeping and agenda-setting are important processes in the world of news and priority is given to huge stories, more likely to be covered  by senior reporters than an intern. This shouldn’t get in the way of doing your best while on the field though!

#4 Know your strengths well enough to choose between the bureau and the desk.

For those of you who don’t know which is which, the Bureau is the reporting section and the Desk is the editing section. More often than not, interns go in with  dreams of digging up a huge story and not that of polishing it up. As you can imagine, editing is severely underrated but so very important. So if you’re not one to report and you’re more of a grammar Nazi (like myself) then pick the desk!

#5 Make sure you’re suited to write for a newspaper.

This may sound a bit obvious, I mean why would you want to intern at a newspaper unless you really wanted to? Then again, after working at an organisation, you may come to realize that you’re  more of  a blogger, a niche magazine writer or that you’d enjoy the freedom of freelance journalism.

Open up to Open Letters

Keep the dying art of letter writing alive!
Keep the dying art of letter writing alive!

Perks of Being a Wallflower shows us just how powerful and telling the epistolary format can be but unfortunately it isn’t a popular choice among  novelists. But who ever said that writing letters had to be sequential and purposeful? For those of you who want to try your hand at a little humorous writing, try the open letter. An open letter can be addressed to whoever or whatever you so choose, allowing you to cast away all inhibitions and write something unconventional (the best kind of writing)! Here’s an example:

Dear Writers Block,

Leave me alone and…

….

Damn it I can’t even write this stupid letter to you.

And it’s all your fault.

sincerely,

A blocked writer

Now go crazy!

Tackle both Exams and Stress with the 4P’s!

Students across the world know how stressful exams can be and sometimes the stress of it all can really get to you, whether it’s coming from school or at home.

When asked what all this pressure does to the students mentality, clinical psychologist Dr. Brunda Amruthraj said, “Students tend to equate their self worth to their test performance, resulting in increased stress and inability to accept failure.” She continued to say that, during this time, students should follow the 4P’s:

Planning and Organization:The American Psychological Association (APA) suggests that, contrary to popular belief, spacing out study sessions is more effective than studying for long hours. In an attempt to plan, rather than scheduling long sessions concentrating on a single subject, cognitive psychology research shows that mixing up different subject topics can help long term learning.

Positive Psychological Makeup:Having a positive attitude can go a long way, boosting confidence and self-esteem which are crucial for students at this time. Performing well in an exam is just as much about mental preparation than actual studying.

Physical exercise: Sports lovers will be glad to know kicking around a football or going on a run can actually be beneficial as it stimulates increased blood flow to the brain. While watching TV and listening to music are effective stress busters, physical activity provides the best cognitive break.

Prayer:Religious prayers or even personal prayers foster a spiritual connection, providing students with peace of mind and reassuring them that they are not alone.

With stress hormones like cortisol and serotonin jumping through the roof, some foods students can eat to reduce anxiety are almonds, oranges, spinach and oatmeal. A glass of milk before going to bed can really help with nerves and relieve muscle tension brought on by stress.

So stay healthy by following the 4P’s everyone!

3 Unconventional Tips to Improve your Writing

Writing while glorious in its art can sometimes be harrowing in the longer run, many facing pit stops like writers block and a lack of dedication to the work they’ve been typing away at for years. Many think writing is a fun career but in the end, work is work.

But fear not because here are some ways to keep the magic alive while writing:

1. Delve into the character’s psyche

The tall, dark stranger, the innocent maiden, the scorned lover and comedic relief. Sound familiar? They should because they’ve made more than their fair share of appearances in the books we read. My advice is this: don’t overburden them , give them a break. Remember characters are people just like you with more than just a single side to them. As a psychology student and fellow writer, I’m going to tell you how to make your characters more believable. According to psychologist  Gordon Allport, everyone has six or so cardinal traits like being open, kind or cold that can accurately describe their personality so don’t just make your character bitter when they have a lot more going for them than just that. Try your hand at creating a balanced and realistic character by choosing a few positive and negative traits in the chart below.

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2. Try Method Writing

If method acting does the trick for multiple Oscar nominee Leo DiCaprio and Emmy winner Aaron Paul,  method writing should prove to be just as successful. Go get some life experience. A writer should know what he/she is writing about not writing about what he/she may know already. You want to write about a character struggling in the sea, go for a swim. (And no, if you’re writing erotica or about illegal activities do NOT use this as an excuse to go out into the world and look for experience.)

Even in the case of fantasy, a writer ought to know how a character would react or feel in a certain situation. Writing a fight sequence? Act it out first to see what seems more plausible. Acting out a scene sprung from your imagination can give you further insight into the smaller details and its imagery. Are your fictional nemeses engaging in a verbal battle in the penultimate chapter? Is it sounding like a bad soap opera? Try actually talking out the dialogues between your characters and see where it goes. You’ll see the conversational flow is more natural and less stiff. As crazy as it may look or sound, give it a go.

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3. Be a little Spontaneous

Although some authors like J.K Rowling plan out their series well in advance, planning every detail can be complicated and leave no room for creative flexibility. Even Rowling now has retrospective doubts about Ron and Hermione as a couple at the close of the Harry Potter series. While writing, it’s essential to strike a balance between knowing where your novel is ultimately heading and leaving space for spontaneous ideas to make an appearance.  While making chapter summaries in advance you may think everything makes sense but while actually writing it out, you will most definitely change your mind on a few plot developments along the way. Don’t treat new ideas as viruses infecting your perfectly planned out plot. Let them give the story some shape. Just like couples like keeping a little mystery in the relationship, a writer shouldn’t know every single thing about their work. This way they can actively engage in the writing process. So be open to novelty and you’ll write a winner!

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Farewell Fowl

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Do you think that dwarves are adorable like Sleepy and Happy from Snow White? Do you imagine all fairies to look like Tinker Bell from Peter Pan? Think again.

Eoin Colfer’s action packed series features armed fairies and goblins that you do NOT want to mess with. Artemis Fowl, on the other hand, does. In the very first book, the Irish mastermind makes an elaborate plan to capture a real live fairy. Of all the ones he could have taken, he kidnaps Captain Holly Short, a fairy who does not go down without a fight. With the help of his butler (aptly named Butler) Artemis and Holly battle it out, man versus magic. It was the beginning of an epic series.

Now after eight books, Artemis Fowl and the Last Guardian being the final installment, it is heart warming to see how the picture has changed.

From the anti-hero to the hero, Artemis’ transformation is remarkable. Starting out as a selfish teenage boy with exceptional intelligence (and if he were reading this article he would frown disdainfully at the use of the word exceptional) he has become a caring, selfless person and is friends with Holly. Their adventures involving time paradoxes, evil pixies and flatulent dwarves are laced with humour and charged with explosive energy. It is that exact energy that did not fizzle out but burned even stronger till the very last page of the series.

In Artemis Fowl and the Last Guardian, Opal Koboi the recurrent psychopathic villain, is back with a devious plan to open the Berserker Gate that shall destroy the world, both fairy and human. It’s up to Artemis, Holly, Butler and their allies to stop her and it won’t be easy. Readers are on the edge of their page, constantly wondering what will happen next.

Without including any spoilers, all I can say is that the series comes full circle towards the end. Fowl fans will dust off their copy of the first book from their shelves and be reminded why they fell in love with the series in the first place. This makes it all the more sad to bid adieu to the Lower Elements.

Colfer truly is the master of blending antipodal concepts like science and fantasy. Unlike J.K Rowling’s rather unnecessary and clichéd epilogue at the conclusion of Harry Potter, Colfer demonstrates skill and subtlety in how he ends his fantasy series. It changes everything about how we read the previous books. In fact, with this sudden illumination it is not surprising if you would want to read the entire set of books all over again. Maybe that was the author’s intention. In that case, Artemis Fowl isn’t the true genius. It’s Eoin Colfer. And trust me, as a Fowl fan, that is saying a lot.

Let’s Be Fictional- 7 Side Effects of Reading too Much!

Come February 14th love is in the air as everyone celebrates Valentine’s Day with that special someone. Yet who ever said that only human relationships deserve a day of their own is sorely mistaken. There is a bond that is just as special. It’s the only love triangle with mutual feelings and a happy ending. That of readers, authors and books. Unlike other relationships, this one stands the test of time, forever immortalized in ink. Just like Aladdin takes Jasmine on a magic carpet ride to a whole new world, authors take their readers into their imagined world through their books. Ask any bibliophile and they would tell you that it is a gift like no other…with some surprises along the way.

The habit of avid reading comes with its own set of side effects. Here are some that ‘bookaholics’ often experience:

Obsession with Fictional Characters  

Authors write the perfect characters with whom we relate to and even fall in love with. Sometimes readers tend to like characters from a book more than people they actually know. There are some cases when you could be reading about your favourite character doing something extremely humiliating and you have to stop for a second and put the book down because you can literally feel the second-hand embarrassment.
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(Paradoxical after thought: What if fictional  characters fall in love with us readers but we’re too real for them?)

Frustration due to Lack of Time

So many books, so little time. It’s been known to happen that when a bibliophile jots down the names of a couple of novels to read in the future they end up with a comprehensively longer list. Unfortunately, what with busy schedules it’s difficult to squeeze in time to just sit down and read nowadays.

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Feeling Wonderful

W. Somerset Maugham once said, “To acquire the habit of reading is to construct for yourself a refuge from almost all the miseries of life.” Cuddling up with a good book and a piping hot cup of tea is all you need to feel happy… if only for a little while.

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Aversion to Kindles

For all the 90’s kids and the generations that preceded the advent of Amazon’s Kindle, paperbacks and hard covers still reign supreme. There’s nothing like the musty smell of a good book or the feel of thumbing through its pages. Sorry Kindle but you don’t have that kind of magic.
ImageGetting lost in the pages

Hold a book and you’ll have the world in your hands. It’s true. As readers, we invest so much of ourselves in the books we read that it is difficult to cope with reality. A novel can be so magnificent that it leaves you reeling. Besides, you can be a different person for a while and take a break from being yourself. Honestly, who wouldn’t want to be a genius mastermind like Artemis Fowl or even a powerful villain like Lord Voldemort? In more ways than one, getting immersed in a book is like playing pretend. Readers are like Peter Pan. We never really grow up.
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Feeling nostalgic for children’s books

Have you ever gone to the book store and got excited to see a book you’d read when you were a child? Good because the books we read at a young age play a huge role in who grow up to be. As Meg Ryan says in You’ve got Mail, “When you read a book as a child it becomes part of your identity in a way that no other reading in your life does.”
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Fan Fiction Addiction

Shock waves were sent through the Harry Potter fan base when J.K Rowling announced that she regretted writing Ron and Hermione getting married. For those who loved the two of them together it was a disappointment but for those who preferred Harry and Hermione together, it was a moment of victory. Clearly it is too late to change the ending but that’s where fan fiction intervenes and saves the day. Fans read and write fan fiction as a means of wish fulfillment and expression, creating an alternate dimension within the world of their favourite books.
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  • (Warning: Severity of said side effects varies from reader to reader)

Brit Acts are going to Set Fire to the Rain in 2014

UK music has had great years what with the new wave of the British invasion and 2014 is all set to see a massive explosion on a global platform. Here are three acts repping the UK that you should look out for:

One Direction: Whether you’re on board with these five lads or not, you can’t deny they’ve taken the world by storm ever since losing out on the X Factor. Members Louis Tomlinson, Liam Payne, Niall Horan, Zayn Malik and Harry Styles have been rehearsing for their world wide arena tour Where We Are (WWA) kickstarting in Bogota, Colombia on April 25. The UK band’s biggest tour ever will end on October 5 in the US and that’s not the only sad thing. Fans younger than 12 have been restricted from going to their gigs while the under-16’s must be accompanied by an adult (because it’s every mom’s dream to see her daughter hold up rude signs saying ‘You light up that joint like nobody else’ and going tone deaf, right?). All in all, it makes us wonder what the boys have got planned for their tour. Based on the album title Midnight Memories, something a little more 18+ perhaps?

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Ed Sheeran: His sophomore album Multiply (or X) is set to release June 23rd and it’s already created quite a lot of buzz. Sing and Don’t have already been announced as singles and in the coming month another will be revealed, hyping up the album release. Sheeran performed live on SNL to showcase his new tunes and give us a fairly good idea where his album has headed. Gone is the one man band and the loop pedal that fans have come to adore, make way for the new side of Ed-the scorned lover.While his album seems to be a diss fest,  fans can hear a little bit of the old Ed in his new song titled All of the Stars on the The Fault in Our Stars OST which will be played during the end credits. After proving successful with his ‘I See Fire’ in The Hobbit: Desolation of Smog we’re sure to be amazed at his song writing talent (he’s just brimming with it, isn’t he?)

The one man band

Little Mix: From being the first group to win X Factor UK to supporting Demi Lovato’s Neon Lights Tour in the U.S, the four piece girl group has shot up in just a couple of years. Little Mix has announced M.O as their supporting act in their headline tour Salute. This year, Mixers may get to hear some new tunes earlier than they thought, with Leigh-Anne announcing that they have been in the recording studio, maybe working on their third album. LM have also recorded Word Up! their Sports Relief single, pepping up any athlete in need of a little motivation. All in all, the girls have had a great year so far,and an even greater one to come! 

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What to ‘X’pect from Ed Sheeran’s Latest Album

Ed Sheeran’s upcoming album titled X seems to be about just that-his exes. Taking a leaf out of his good friend Taylor Swift’s book, the singer-song writer’s already announced singles-Sing and Don’t- give us a pretty good idea about what direction his sophomore album has taken. Ed Sheeran had already spoken out on the matter saying, “When you’re a songwriter, and if someone’s dating you and they know you’re a songwriter, if good things happen, good songs get written; if bad things happen, bad songs get written. That’s just my job.” 

Riding on the success wave from his debut album +, featuring hits like Lego House and The A Team, the Grammy nominee has broken out of his comfort zone of singing songs that tell a story to singing the harsh truth, so harsh in fact that T-Swift herself was shocked.

The Brit singer’s latest tunes also seem to be influenced by Pharrell William’s sound and it’s no wonder since the Happy hit-maker produced his first single ‘Sing’ off the latest album. While fans are eager for its release on June 23rd, some have expressed resentment towards the changes Sheeran has made in his music. Sheerios want to see their beloved ‘one-man-band’ perform with a loop pedal in his live shows as he always has, claiming Ed doesn’t need any other musicians on stage alongside him. Suffice to say there was a mixed reaction to his SNL performances which were clearly not as stripped back as usual.

Remember, social media is nothing but pseudo-reality…glitter yet dust.

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