Student Press Law Center Paid Internships

Spring 2020: Two journalism interns. The internship runs 15 weeks, from Jan. 22 to May 6, 2020. Application deadline has been extended to Nov. 4, 2019.

Summer 2020: One journalism intern and one legal intern. The internship runs 10 weeks, from May 29 to Aug. 5. Application deadline: Jan. 31, 2020.

Fall 2020: One journalism intern and one year-long Legal Fellow whose stipend is covered by their law school. The journalism internship runs for 15 weeks. from Aug. 24 to Dec. 8. The Legal Fellow position commences in September and runs 12 months. Application deadline: May 18, 2020.

Join our small and scrappy team! The Student Press Law Center seeks accomplished college journalists and law school students for paid internships in Washington, D.C. 

Spring and Fall internships are with us for 15 weeks. Summer internships last 10 weeks.

The living expense is $490 a week ($7,350 for spring and fall interns at 15 weeks and $4,900 for summer interns at 10 weeks). The stipend is paid by direct deposit every two weeks. For the most part, work days are Monday to Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 5-5:30 p.m.

Journalism interns

We’re seeking self-starting storytellers to chronicle student media organizations in perilous times, recognize trends in student media and help SPLC expand its audience and impact. The positions are open to undergraduate and graduate students as well as recent college graduates. Many interns arrange to receive academic credit from their college or university with the endorsement of the SPLC.

What it takes to be a stand-out candidate: Have a passion for journalism and justice. Be a ranking, self-starting ranking editor who juggles multiple initiatives and engages in strategic planning. Be a nuanced, precise writer. Have experience in accountability reporting, statehouse coverage, covering campus crime, government and/or school boards/districts. Tell us if you’ve ever battled against censorship by administrators, filed a Freedom of Information request or dealt with attempts to bar you from a public meeting. Experience with using G Suite (especially Google Docs), creating podcasts and editing video are all pluses. You should have a command of A.P. style.

Your portfolio should convey how you take complex subjects and break them down into fluid, explanatory news stories.

Experience in writing across platforms, video and podcast editing and tracking web analytics help show that you’re a well rounded candidate.

Journalism interns report to Communications Fellow Danielle Dieterich. Duties include:

· Balancing updates and breaking news on complex legal topics with longer-form storytelling on SPLC.org, its social media platforms and thrice-yearly magazine, The Report. You’ll be working on multiple stories concurrently. Most will center on the intersection of law, journalism and education, as well as compiling our monthly listing of paid internships.

· Breaking news about the SPLC’s New Voices and anti-censorship initiatives.

· Researching and writing for The Report, SPLC’s magazine that chronicles the state of student press rights around the country.

· Taking a multimedia approach to stories, considering from the get-go how a story can be told not only with words, but with photos, video and sound, plus infographics and timelines.

· Drafting social media posts related to your stories.

· Pitching in to get organizational tasks done, such as updating SPLC’s outreach materials, timelines and archiving and scanning documents for the website.

· Enjoy working in a team and being receptive to collaboration and editing.

Legal Interns

Law school students whose career aspirations include protecting the First Amendment rights of journalists are welcome to apply. Most of our applications are 2-L. Duties will include conducting legal research, helping refine legal guides and fact sheets and might include writing stories for the SPLC.org website. Past legal interns have drafted amicus briefs and conducted survey research. The successful legal intern candidate will demonstrate a commitment to the principles of press freedom, and have studied copyright law and fair use, the Freedom of Information Act and open meetings laws. Applicants should have a background in journalism and superior research and writing skills. 

You will work closely with SPLC Senior Legal Counsel Mike Hiestand and Staff Attorney Sommer Ingram Dean.

Please note: We will consider applications for year-long Legal Fellows that start in the fall, with the stipend paid by your law school.

Housing

The SPLC doesn’t provide housing, but will assist interns in finding housing for the semester. In recent years, interns have done well with Airbnb or similar services. Facebook has a couple of groups focused on D.C. intern housing. There are also furnished properties owned by Washington Intern Student Housing (WISH), which gives SPLC interns a 10% discount on general rates for spring and fall semesters. During the summer, some interns have found housing at George Washington University dorms. Our small, windowless but cheerful office is centrally located near major Metro subway and bus lines.

Special opportunities 

News and current events junkies will love their time in D.C. In recent semesters, SPLC interns have attended events at The Washington Post, toured National Public Radio, observed the Supreme Court and attended First Amendment seminars at the Newseum.

About the SPLC

The SPLC is an advocate for student First Amendment rights, freedom of online speech, and open government on campus. The SPLC provides information, training and legal assistance at no charge to high school and college student journalists and the educators who work with them. We work at the intersection of journalism, law and education. Founded in 1974, the SPLC is a nonpartisan, 501 c-3 nonprofit organization that serves as nation’s only organization dedicated solely to the legal challenges facing student media.

Deadline and how to apply

Application packets will be considered on a rolling basis. See deadlines at the top of the page. Please assemble a single PDF that consists of:

  • A cover letter that describes your interest in and qualifications for being an SPLC intern.
  • A resume.
  • A link to your online portfolio or three samples of your news writings.
  • A recommendation letter from someone who is familiar with your work and can tell us how we can make you a better journalist or future lawyer during your time with the SPLC.
  • Names, telephone numbers and email addresses of two professional or academic references.

Submit your application to Director of Engagement Diana Mitsu Klos at dmk@splc.org. The subject line should note the internship you’re applying for (i.e. Spring 2020 Journalism Intern or Spring 2020 Legal Intern) and your full name.