x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

The National launches internship programme with Zayed University

Zayed University and The National have signed an agreement aimed at encouraging students at the establishment to pursue careers in journalism.


ABU DHABI // Zayed University and The National have signed an agreement aimed at encouraging students at the establishment to pursue careers in journalism. Dr Kenneth Starck, the dean of the university's College of Communications and Media Sciences, and Martin Newland, the newspaper's editor-in-chief, signed the memorandum of understanding at the university's Abu Dhabi campus yesterday.

Under the agreement, the paper will reserve a number of its summer internship and work experience places for students of the university for the next three years. The students will receive training and gain first-hand experience in areas such as news and business reporting, photojournalism, newspaper design and magazine writing. "Journalism is about telling a good story," said Dr Starck. "And nothing is more important than young Emiratis being able to tell their own story, whether it is about their history or their culture.

"In many ways the classroom and newsroom share similar goals. We're trying to help inform and educate so that people can make intelligent decisions for themselves and for society." Each term, up to four Zayed University undergraduates will be able to spend at least a month working in the newsroom to supplement their studies. The newspaper will also reserve half of its 10, eight-week summer internships for students or recent graduates from the university.

Mr Newland said he hoped the programme would inspire a new generation of Emirati journalists and help instil in them a sense of civic duty. "Journalism is about serving the public interest and examining social issues. But there is very little in the way of what we would call institutional journalism here," he said. "This is what we aim to do at The National but we lack the perspective that Emiratis have.

"We hope that those that come to us not only learn enough practical skills to successfully engage in the profession, but begin to see the importance to this developing society of strong public-interest journalism." Journalism, he told the students, was not simply another job, but "a calling" as important to society as the medical and legal professions. Hessa al Romaithi, 22, a public relations and tourism communications major at Zayed University, was one of the five students who took part in the inaugural summer internship programme at the newspaper, which launched in April.

"I am not a journalism student but I found out that I have the ability to write," said Miss al Romaithi who interned as a news reporter. "Now that I'm done with my internship, I'm working [at The National] part-time. And hopefully, in future, I will join the team." Another Emirati student who studies at Columbia University in New York and interned with the newspaper this summer, Fatima al Shamsi, continues to contribute a weekly column to its Saturday magazine M about her life in the US.