Paid Media Internships – A Sign Of The Apocalypse?

A frequent reader of the Tanner Friedman blog recently forwarded me something as a new example of media change. It’s something I never would have imagined seeing 20 years ago. A media organization, just weeks before the end of college classes for the season, stumping hard to find summer interns who will actually get paid for their work.

Here’s the posting for the Cox Media Group, owners of TV stations, radio stations and newspapers around the country (full disclosure, I once worked for Cox’s WSB-TV). Take a look at the posting and you will see a microcosm of the traditional media/new media intersection. Traditional media companies now realize they need to adopt to new media consumption. But too often, they feel like they don’t know how to do it. Here’s one company attempting a different type of creative infusion, which is commendable.

It’s also an impressive sign that at least one company is not satisfied with the “we can’t make money on the Internet” line anymore. They are willing to pay interns, something previously unheard of in the media business, hoping that new, revenue-generating ideas will provide a return on that investment.

For the past several years, we have witnessed several communicators give up, in effect, on creating their own new media content because, they say, “you have to be young to get it.” We strongly disagree. While we have receive invaluable insights on Social Media and Web communication from members of our team who fall into the “Gen Y” or “Millenial” generations, we believe contributions from less experienced professionals who have grown up online can be complemented by sound, experienced fundamental guidance from more experienced professionals who have touched many forms of media. A team approach works, we hear from our clients who entrust their projects to us.

In the case of Cox, they seem to have a plan of which paid internships are a part. No, it’s not “the end of the world as we know it.” That happened a few years ago. This is just a new by-product.