About Author: Ankita, a 4th year B.Tech (Computer Science) student at KIIT University interned with Times of India in Mumbai. She shares her sweet sixteen internship experience with us.
It was my first internship. I was 16. And I can proudly call it the sweet sixteenth year of my life. Life at that point was all about physics, chemistry and maths. I was in class XI with science as majors, which automatically meant either Engineering or the Medical entrance examinations. But having won many competitions in school and otherwise, writing remained one of my primary interests. One fine day, I flipped through the newspaper and saw a notice by the Times of India which went along the lines of ‘We’re looking for under-18 individuals with a flair for writing and journalism’. I read the notice thrice. A bunch of under-18, young and enthusiastic teenagers would be selected to form the YO! Bureau (YO! stood for Young Opinion) – a shadow editorial board of the Times of India.
Each city had a YO! Bureau. Their selection process was simple. We were required to send in two articles – one, reporting about the problems faced by us in our locality and the second, an article on the topic of our choice. Needless to say, I was selected (or I wouldn’t have been writing this story). All the selected teenagers were called for a meeting at the city office with the senior editors. It was our first ‘editorial board meeting’. We (the ten selected under-18 ‘journalists’, yes we could call ourselves that), were taken to a medium-sized, chic conference hall. A gasp of awe later we settled and the meeting commenced. Along with the senior editors we brainstormed over what issues would we report, how would we report, the time it would take us for an assignment, etc.My assignment was to interview the Chairman of the NMMT (Navi Mumbai Municipal Transport) along with another girl. And the work began.
Listing out the questions, striking out the unimpressive ones, calling up the transport office to fix the interview and finally – the interview. All went well and finally the interview was sent to the senior editors for review. The senior editors scratched their heads as they went through all of our assignments. Some of the ‘journalists’ had more than one article to work on (If only I had the time, I could’ve done another one!). A day before the publication of the issue, we were called for the page-making process at the main office of the Times of India at CST, Mumbai. Half an hour of gasping at the old structure and fabulous interiors later, we got down to work. We spent the entire day learning about how an entire issue is made, how the stories are placed, how spaces are allotted to articles, graphics and editing et al. Since it was a special issue, a group photo and individual photos were clicked. (Later, the heads of each of us was put on a cartoon body next to our article). Throughout the day we went from cubicle to cubicle assisting each person who was involved and learnt quite a lot of things. A chocolate-milk-coffee-tea vending machine kept us motivated.
The next day, or on 11th August 2007, I woke up bright and very early. As early as 4.30 AM. The newspaper arrived an hour later. Our group photo graced the Front Page of the issue. I quickly leafed through the pages to locate my picture and my article, of course! I looked fabulous and much better on the paper than on the computer! I felt proud. A huge bubble of happiness, pride and satisfaction inside me could have lifted me in the air had there been no gravity. Mission accomplished: I was a journalist! A published journalist! With my name and picture. I made many friends through this internship and still keep in touch with them even though it’s been 5 years since the issue. Now I know what goes behind the making of an issue. Now I know how the print media functions. Now, I know.
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