The majority of television internships involve assisting with the production process. In addition to production, there are internships related to the technical, marketing and audience research aspects of producing a television show or news program. There are a diverse range of entertainment genres to work with, in addition to sports and news shows. The majority of television internships are short-term and offer some sort of college credit.
Undergraduates do not have the market cornered on television internships. There are quite a few television shows and news programs that offer internship programs for graduate students as well. Some of them pay a stipend in addition to offering college credit. Even if the internship is unpaid, there is usually the expectation that college credit will be granted or that the intern has more college coursework to complete.
A large number of television internships involve assisting a producer, his assistants or coordinators. Major networks may sponsor a broad internship program that allows interns to work on a number of prime time or daytime shows depending upon their areas of interest. Interns are exposed to everything that is involved in the production process and may get to assist with producing and creating certain segments of the show. There may also be some exposure to the script writing process.
Television shows also need interns who are interested in the technical aspects of producing a show. These internships focus on camera work, lighting, editing and taping. The work may be less creative and strategic in nature, but does expose the student to the behind the scenes aspects of television. Some networks offer graphics internships that specialize in designing the program's on-air graphical layout.
For those students who are interested in producing live news segments, several cable and local networks offer production, technical, newsroom and audience research television internships. Cable news networks may offer a little more variety due to the fact that they are on the air 24 hours a day. Business administration students who are interested in operations, marketing research or the strategic side of running a news network may be interested in one of the strategic operations or audience research internships.
There are companies and professional associations that sponsor television internship programs for students. Rather than trying to research available internships with multiple companies, these programs focus on matching the student with the best available internship in a certain geographic location or discipline. Some of the available internship categories include animation, entertainment news, casting, scriptwriting, directing, cinematography, and television development, which consists of show creation and sales pitching.