Tampa Tribune “suspends” summer internship program

That’s according to a memo published by Romenesko today. I interned at the paper and its sister Web site, TBO.com, last summer as part of the Dow Jones Newspaper Fund’s online editing program.

I understand why Managing Editor Duke Maas, who was very accommodating to me during my stint there, might do it. The newspaper industry is in the toilet. It looks bad to bring in (and pay out $30,000 to) six fresh-faced kids while you’re sending experienced reporters packing.  That two of last summer’s six interns posted reports of internal meetings or memos on personal blogs that ended up on Romenesko probably made the decision easier.

Still, news in general — and newspapers specifically — are in desperate need of fresh, young, well-trained and cheap journalists. Cutting, or “suspending” if you prefer the euphemism, internship programs will not pull news organization from their nosedives. Instead it will just start driving out the next generation of journalists

It won’t happen all at once and Mr. Maas oand others suspending their program for a year won’t be the end of journalism education. And, yes, despite the you-must-intern mentality, there are ways to get journalism jobs without internships at metro dailies. But if those opportunities start to disappear, what aspiring journalist in her right mind won’t have her confidence shaken and start thinking about, oh, law school instead?

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