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[liberationtech] Jazeera's 'The Stream' seeks tech intern

Daniel Isaiah Ong danielo at cs.stanford.edu
Fri Aug 19 07:18:01 PDT 2011


Unfortunately, this seems to be the case for a lot of "tech in politics" and
"tech in development" internships. As someone who just went through this
process, the offers often border on low-balling. And many of these are
for-profit companies looking to entice idealistic engineers to take low pay
for "impact". I've done this a couple of times.

They have not turned out so well. When you cost so little, you're
essentially cheap labor (cheaper than elance, even), and there is no onus on
management to give you good work that will justify their cost. They will say
that there is "a lot of work"- but when you cost so little, they're not
going to give you the stuff which really has "impact". And things (can) go
sour- especially when at a certain price point you feel more like a
"volunteer", while on the other hand they feel like an "employer".

There is also a difference between a $100 engineering internship, and a $100
journalism internship. The structure of the industries are very different-
engineering a flat industry, while journalism a pyramidistic industry. While
a journalism undergraduate gets a lot of value from industry exposure and
meeting people, the engineer often is just left in a corner as a "black
box". Get stuff done.

Moreover, $100 a week is going to be a major problem, especially if one is
on financial aid. At that price point, never mind the "learning
opportunities"- you're better off working at McDonalds or waiting tables.
You're essentially looking at a small demographic who have rich parents
supporting them, and want to "change the world". And to be brutally honest,
a lot of those people are studying Political Science, not engineering.

That said, the job sounds really interesting. But I think if you are
offering $100/week, you need to very explicit on what the benefits are for
the intern: what you will teach him/her, the people they will meet, a very
explicit job scope, and the small things matter- taking him out to lunch
once a week for a check-in, the promise of mentorship, etc. I'd really like
to forward this ad to a few of my friends that might be interested.

Sorry that we've been a high maintenance group to send this ad to- but we'd
really like to help!

Dan


On Fri, Aug 19, 2011 at 9:20 AM, Ben Connors <ben.connors at aljazeera.net>wrote:

> Ale,
>
> I hope I haven't offended you. Thank you for sharing your thoughts, please
> find mine below. If you'd like to discuss it more I would suggest we take it
> off the Lib-tech list serve.
>
> On first blush I completely agree with you. Times are tough.
>
> I wish I had some sway over the intern stipend. I of course do not.
> Confidentially, I have my own financial gripes with the company.
>
> However, the industry is a transitional one. This unit is offering a
> glimpse into what non-fiction TV may well transform into in the near future.
> I understand it would take a fairly privileged individual to commit to this
> particular position, but you'll notice the letter doesn't list required
> skills. I expect to have to do plenty of 'on the job training.'
>
> My hope is to provide a great learning experience for some gung-ho young
> person at a little less than the cost of a college class. I would be frank
> with a candidate who I felt was over qualified.
>
> Best,
> Ben Connors
>
>
>
> On Aug 19, 2011, at 4:50 AM, Ale Fernandez wrote:
>
> > Hi,
> >
> > I'm sure this must be standard practice, but 100 dollars a week surely
> > can't buy much happyness in new york!! And for programming web apps,
> > pitching stuff at big meetings and making loads of new kinds of media,
> > which isn't easy.
> >
> > The job description even tries to lay claim to your free time. What kind
> > of beast do you have to be to have so much saved money to subsist for 2
> > months plus, devoting work and free time to something that might not
> > even lead to a job?
> >
> > It makes me really sad to see this kind of ability so devalued, even
> > with the dangling carrot of proper employment in a big media company, as
> > much as I like al-jazeera.
> >
> > I wish they could hire people properly, with a contract allowing for a
> > trial period - which I also think is surely standard in some places, or
> > at least give food, transport or accomodation...
> >
> > Ale
> >
> > On 18/08/11 18:26, Ben Connors wrote:
> >> Hello Lib Tech,
> >> I thought you all might be able to help me find an intern.
> >> Please feel free to forward this email to relevant parties.
> >>
> >> Very much appreciated,
> >>
> >> Ben Connors
> >> @bcatdc
> >> 202.213.0674
> >> The Stream | Creative Strategist
> >> http://facebook.com/benjconnors
> >>
> >> ********************************************
> >>
> >> I'm looking for an intern for a show I helped launch. The show is called
> >> 'The Stream.' It's a daily talk-show on Al Jazeera English. The show is
> >> truly groundbreaking in it's adoption of social-media. We don't actually
> >> describe ourselves as TV but as a Social Network that happens to have a
> >> daily show.
> >> The position is for someone interested in the "technical" side of
> >> things. The intern's duties would include creating motion graphics,
> >> managing the network of on-set computers, editing interviews and
> >> uploading content to our various social platforms.
> >> The show's team is small, young and cohesive. It relies heavily on the
> >> help and participation of the interns and they are given a large degree
> >> of responsibility. Our show strives to be VERY inventive, I think of
> >> myself as the R&D department of the show, and the technical intern will
> >> be encouraged to spend any free time helping to invent new modes of
> >> televisual communication.
> >> That could be creating motion graphics (I'm trying to pioneer the use of
> >> CSS3 and webkit for live tv), web applications, automating daily tasks…
> >> Etc. Everyone is encouraged to participate in show's editorial process,
> >> and while this internship is not an editorial one, the intern will be
> >> encouraged to pitch stories and to attend all editorial meetings.
> >> The internship is at the Newseum in downtown Washington DC. The ideal
> >> intern would be available from 9-5, Monday-Thursday. Al Jazeera offers a
> >> $100 weekly stipend to all interns. The internship requires a minimum 2
> >> month commitment and is available immediately (…or as soon as we can
> >> find an empty chair).
> >> Here is a link to a great description of the show…
> >>
> http://www.niemanlab.org/2011/04/a-web-community-with-a-tv-show-inside-the-streams-efforts-to-turn-broadcasting-into-a-social-medium/
> >> …here is a link to our website itself…
> >> http://stream.aljazeera.com <http://stream.aljazeera.com/>
> >> …and of course we're on
> >> http://Www.facebook.com/ajstream
> >> And
> >> http://twitter.com/ajstream
> >> Applicants are encouraged to get in touch and to provide a resume and
> >> statement of interest.
> >> Thanks for your time,
> >> Ben Connors
> >>
> >> @bcatdc
> >> 202.213.0674
> >> The Stream | Creative Strategist
> >> http://facebook.com/benjconnors
> >>
> >> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
> >> Notice: This email is intended only for the use of the individual or
> >> entity named above and may contain information that is confidential and
> >> privileged. If you are not the intended recipient, you are hereby
> >> notified that any dissemination, distribution or copying of this email
> >> is strictly prohibited. Opinions, conclusions and other information in
> >> this message that do not relate to the official business of our firm
> >> shall be understood as neither given nor endorsed by it.
> >>
> >>
> >> _______________________________________________
> >> liberationtech mailing list
> >> liberationtech at lists.stanford.edu
> >>
> >> Should you need to change your subscription options, please go to:
> >>
> >> https://mailman.stanford.edu/mailman/listinfo/liberationtech
> >>
> >> If you would like to receive a daily digest, click "yes" (once you click
> above) next to "would you like to receive list mail batched in a daily
> digest?"
> >>
> >> You will need the user name and password you receive from the list
> moderator in monthly reminders.
> >>
> >> Should you need immediate assistance, please contact the list moderator.
> >>
> >> Please don't forget to follow us on
> http://twitter.com/#!/Liberationtech
> >
> > _______________________________________________
> > liberationtech mailing list
> > liberationtech at lists.stanford.edu
> >
> > Should you need to change your subscription options, please go to:
> >
> > https://mailman.stanford.edu/mailman/listinfo/liberationtech
> >
> > If you would like to receive a daily digest, click "yes" (once you click
> above) next to "would you like to receive list mail batched in a daily
> digest?"
> >
> > You will need the user name and password you receive from the list
> moderator in monthly reminders.
> >
> > Should you need immediate assistance, please contact the list moderator.
> >
> > Please don't forget to follow us on http://twitter.com/#!/Liberationtech
>
> On Aug 19, 2011, at 4:50 AM, Ale Fernandez wrote:
>
> > Hi,
> >
> > I'm sure this must be standard practice, but 100 dollars a week surely
> > can't buy much happyness in new york!! And for programming web apps,
> > pitching stuff at big meetings and making loads of new kinds of media,
> > which isn't easy.
> >
> > The job description even tries to lay claim to your free time. What kind
> > of beast do you have to be to have so much saved money to subsist for 2
> > months plus, devoting work and free time to something that might not
> > even lead to a job?
> >
> > It makes me really sad to see this kind of ability so devalued, even
> > with the dangling carrot of proper employment in a big media company, as
> > much as I like al-jazeera.
> >
> > I wish they could hire people properly, with a contract allowing for a
> > trial period - which I also think is surely standard in some places, or
> > at least give food, transport or accomodation...
> >
> > Ale
> >
> > On 18/08/11 18:26, Ben Connors wrote:
> >> Hello Lib Tech,
> >> I thought you all might be able to help me find an intern.
> >> Please feel free to forward this email to relevant parties.
> >>
> >> Very much appreciated,
> >>
> >> Ben Connors
> >> @bcatdc
> >> 202.213.0674
> >> The Stream | Creative Strategist
> >> http://facebook.com/benjconnors
> >>
> >> ********************************************
> >>
> >> I'm looking for an intern for a show I helped launch. The show is called
> >> 'The Stream.' It's a daily talk-show on Al Jazeera English. The show is
> >> truly groundbreaking in it's adoption of social-media. We don't actually
> >> describe ourselves as TV but as a Social Network that happens to have a
> >> daily show.
> >> The position is for someone interested in the "technical" side of
> >> things. The intern's duties would include creating motion graphics,
> >> managing the network of on-set computers, editing interviews and
> >> uploading content to our various social platforms.
> >> The show's team is small, young and cohesive. It relies heavily on the
> >> help and participation of the interns and they are given a large degree
> >> of responsibility. Our show strives to be VERY inventive, I think of
> >> myself as the R&D department of the show, and the technical intern will
> >> be encouraged to spend any free time helping to invent new modes of
> >> televisual communication.
> >> That could be creating motion graphics (I'm trying to pioneer the use of
> >> CSS3 and webkit for live tv), web applications, automating daily tasks…
> >> Etc. Everyone is encouraged to participate in show's editorial process,
> >> and while this internship is not an editorial one, the intern will be
> >> encouraged to pitch stories and to attend all editorial meetings.
> >> The internship is at the Newseum in downtown Washington DC. The ideal
> >> intern would be available from 9-5, Monday-Thursday. Al Jazeera offers a
> >> $100 weekly stipend to all interns. The internship requires a minimum 2
> >> month commitment and is available immediately (…or as soon as we can
> >> find an empty chair).
> >> Here is a link to a great description of the show…
> >>
> http://www.niemanlab.org/2011/04/a-web-community-with-a-tv-show-inside-the-streams-efforts-to-turn-broadcasting-into-a-social-medium/
> >> …here is a link to our website itself…
> >> http://stream.aljazeera.com <http://stream.aljazeera.com/>
> >> …and of course we're on
> >> http://Www.facebook.com/ajstream
> >> And
> >> http://twitter.com/ajstream
> >> Applicants are encouraged to get in touch and to provide a resume and
> >> statement of interest.
> >> Thanks for your time,
> >> Ben Connors
> >>
> >> @bcatdc
> >> 202.213.0674
> >> The Stream | Creative Strategist
> >> http://facebook.com/benjconnors
> >>
> >> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
> >> Notice: This email is intended only for the use of the individual or
> >> entity named above and may contain information that is confidential and
> >> privileged. If you are not the intended recipient, you are hereby
> >> notified that any dissemination, distribution or copying of this email
> >> is strictly prohibited. Opinions, conclusions and other information in
> >> this message that do not relate to the official business of our firm
> >> shall be understood as neither given nor endorsed by it.
> >>
> >>
> >> _______________________________________________
> >> liberationtech mailing list
> >> liberationtech at lists.stanford.edu
> >>
> >> Should you need to change your subscription options, please go to:
> >>
> >> https://mailman.stanford.edu/mailman/listinfo/liberationtech
> >>
> >> If you would like to receive a daily digest, click "yes" (once you click
> above) next to "would you like to receive list mail batched in a daily
> digest?"
> >>
> >> You will need the user name and password you receive from the list
> moderator in monthly reminders.
> >>
> >> Should you need immediate assistance, please contact the list moderator.
> >>
> >> Please don't forget to follow us on
> http://twitter.com/#!/Liberationtech
> >
> > _______________________________________________
> > liberationtech mailing list
> > liberationtech at lists.stanford.edu
> >
> > Should you need to change your subscription options, please go to:
> >
> > https://mailman.stanford.edu/mailman/listinfo/liberationtech
> >
> > If you would like to receive a daily digest, click "yes" (once you click
> above) next to "would you like to receive list mail batched in a daily
> digest?"
> >
> > You will need the user name and password you receive from the list
> moderator in monthly reminders.
> >
> > Should you need immediate assistance, please contact the list moderator.
> >
> > Please don't forget to follow us on http://twitter.com/#!/Liberationtech
>
>
> Notice: This email is intended only for the use of the individual or entity
> named above and may contain information that is confidential and privileged.
> If you are not the intended recipient, you are hereby notified that any
> dissemination, distribution or copying of this email is strictly prohibited.
> Opinions, conclusions and other information in this message that do not
> relate to the official business of our firm shall be understood as neither
> given nor endorsed by it.
> _______________________________________________
> liberationtech mailing list
> liberationtech at lists.stanford.edu
>
> Should you need to change your subscription options, please go to:
>
> https://mailman.stanford.edu/mailman/listinfo/liberationtech
>
> If you would like to receive a daily digest, click "yes" (once you click
> above) next to "would you like to receive list mail batched in a daily
> digest?"
>
> You will need the user name and password you receive from the list
> moderator in monthly reminders.
>
> Should you need immediate assistance, please contact the list moderator.
>
> Please don't forget to follow us on http://twitter.com/#!/Liberationtech
>
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