Graduate practicum

Our intensive, 18-month graduate program in media innovation develops the journalist of the future to practice quality journalism, use diverse tools and adapt and apply this knowledge in new ways and environments. Our cohort-based program is built on a collaborative model that includes theoretical structure as well as practical training. Students complete seven required courses as well as four electives organized within three different tracks of study including strategic communications, news innovation and media studies. One of the key requirements for the degree is this 150-hour practical experience with a company or organization.

The information on this page will provide guidance both for our students planning their practicum experiences and for potential employers who wish to consider partnering with us in this program.

In recent years, our students have worked with environmental organizations in Lake Tahoe, large worldwide media organizations in Washington, DC, outdoor magazines in Maine, and large public relations agencies in San Francisco. In addition, students have also worked with start-up media organizations and went to work with them following graduation.

During the summer, each graduate student participating in an internship/practicum will also build an online community in order to discuss ways to improve their experience and, at the conclusion of the project, write about it in the form of a comprehensive narrative article.

Because of the financial demands on graduate students and the likelihood of them having previous professional experience, we prefer they receive a stipend for the hours they work. However, in some cases, we realize that this is not possible. If this is the case, please note the current laws involving hiring an intern without pay.

Unpaid experiences

Mentors for student internships that are UNPAID must meet the U.S. Department of Labor standards:

  • The internship, even though it includes actual operation of the facilities of the employer, is similar to training which would be given in an educational environment;
  • The internship experience is for the benefit of the intern;
  • The intern does not displace regular employees, but works under close supervision of existing staff;
  • The employer that provides the training derives no immediate advantage from the activities of the intern, and on occasion, its operations may actually be impeded;
  • The intern is not necessarily entitled to a job at the conclusion of the internship; and
  • The employer and the intern understand that the intern is not entitled to wages for the time spent in the internship.

In addition, mentors agree to meet weekly with students for constructive feedback, provide the student access to other departments, plan to meet with the students mid-semester for a goal refining meeting and complete an internship evaluation with the student at the end of the semester. This is an online form that addresses elements of professionalism, skill and application of standards in the industry. Mentors must complete the form; print before submitting and save a copy to meet with the student, submit then review the form in person by the end-of-semester deadline. The student is earning credits for the course, but some may not be prepared or ready for professional environments. If problems occur in the internship, take the internship coordinator as a partner to address issues. However, sometimes the best learning experience is from direct consequences when being fired thus failing the class may be the only solution.

If you have any questions or concerns about the internship/practicum experience, please don’t hesitate to contact: Todd Felts, Ed.D, summer practicum coordinator, at or (775) 784-4188. Thank you for considering a Reynolds School of Journalism graduate student for a practicum/internship experience with your company or organization.