Internship at Bolivian Express

Jack Kinsella writes with a unique opportunity at the Bolivian Express, an English language magazine set up by Bolivian graduates in collaboration with students around the world:

“We have just started a journalism internship program in Bolivia whereby interns take Spanish classes, journalism classes, photography classes and cinematography classes. Participants are paired with Bolivians in La Paz and are then expected to explore Bolivian culture eventually producing four pages of content for our magazine each month. This content is then passed to our editors who offer feedback, helping to improve our interns writing skills. Our magazine is distributed on the ground, in the skies and, very soon, online.”

Sounds fascinating – but as always, check the background and support on this thoroughly (I cannot vouch for this in any way), and have backup plans in place if you’re going to travel halfway around the world. And of course post a comment if you do find anything out.

UPDATE: From Jack:

Point 1 – Supervision

Supervision is provided during meetings and interns’ time in the offices of Express Press (the publishing house of which we are a subsidiary). However, please note that due to the nature of the work (journalism) there will be periods during which partipicants may choose to undertake independent research in order to write an article. This may involve traveling within Bolivia (as a tourist) and/or exploring La Paz (the city where we are based) to collect material for his pieces. We strive to team-up interns (in twos and threes, often with a local intern who knows the country) to undertake this research and all assignments are carried out on an entirely voluntary basis. By this we mean that interns are under no circumstances instructed to report on an event or go to a location on behalf of the publication, and have the option of limiting their involvement with the Bolivian Express to desk-based research. In short, an intern’s time at our offices (where we are able to provide constant supervision) are limited to attending meetings, writing articles (though they have the option of writing them in their own time, ie. at an internet cafe), designing the magazine, and carrying out administrative tasks.

To give a concrete example: interns often choose to visit nightclubs in La Paz during their personal time and then ask us whether we would like them to write a nightclub review based on their experiences. Of course, we accept this request and publish their reviews, without even instructing them to visit a nightclub.

To give another concrete example: some interns choose to travel within the country on weekends, or request time away for the office to do tourism. They later write articles about their experiences (some of which are published) yet they are never instructed to undertake any adventures (including extreme sports).

Point 2 – Workplace insurance

Workplace insurance is taken out for interns, and covers them during their time at our offices or when they are carrying out their duties elsewhere on our instruction. However, all interns are required to take out comprehensive travel insurance before arriving, covering them for any eventuality during their independent travel and research.

Point 3 –  Risk Assessment

In terms of risk assessment, we require interns to fully research their proposed travel plans in the relevant official (ie, foreign office travel advice) and unofficial literature (ie, travel guides), and we give them a safety briefing before their departure with additional contextual information acquired through personal experience.

Furthermore, we require interns to carry a Bolivian mobile phone with them at all times so they can inform us immediately in the case of an emergency. They are also required to carry cards with their address and key telephone numbers (provided) next to their press passes, which they must wear whilst undertaking any work for the magazine.

We also instruct interns to under no circumstances take an unlicensed form of transport, and provide them with the means to avoid this situation (mobile phones and information on how to order a taxi). However, many still choose to take unlicensed taxis, so we are unable to accept any form of liability in these cases.

Point 4 – First Aid – re: “an adequate number of first aiders”

We are a small magazine. There are 2-4 full time staff on the ground at any given time. While some of us have knowledge of First Aid practices not all of us have undertaken formal training in this area. To mitigate the risks associated with this situation, we are registered with a 24hr clinic five minutes away from the interns’ residence and the offices of the Bolivian Express, and have successfully (and immediately) been able to refer those suffering from food poisoning and altitude sickness (very common in Bolivia) to this clinic, accompanied by another person. We also ask interns who have received training in this area to inform us upon arrival in order to inform everyone taking part in the programme in case any basic first-aid tasks are required.

2 thoughts on “Internship at Bolivian Express

  1. Pingback: links for 2010-07-14 « Onlinejournalismtest's Blog

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.