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Exploring English Internships: A Gateway to Literary and Communication Careers

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Introduction to English Internships

For students who enjoy English classes, want to be an English major, or love to read and write, internships are a great way to explore careers in publishing, journalism, communications, and more. Many publishing houses, news organizations, and other companies offer internships for passionate students to surround themselves with other readers and writers and to be mentored by industry professionals. In this article, we’ll share our list of the top ten English internships in the publishing/literary, journalism, and communications fields. Then, we’ll present our tips for applying to internships and for getting the most out of your internship opportunity.

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Top Publishing & Literary Internships

1. Hachette Book Group

Hachette Book Group is a leading U.S. book publisher. They offer paid internships in a variety of departments, such as their editorial, digital marketing, and communications offices. Internships are posted on their career site as they become available, so check back regularly. Their ideal candidates demonstrate strong literary commitment through reading and writing.

Location: Hybrid (virtual & in-person in New York, NY) or fully remote

Pay: $16 per hour

Program Dates: June 3rd to August 9th

Commitment: 28 hours per week

Eligibility: Open to all

Application Deadline: Rolling applications

2. Penguin Random House

Penguin Random House is a multinational publishing company and one of the largest book publishers in the world. Their paid and fully remote internship program offers positions in their Editorial, Managing Editorial, Production Editorial, Sales, Finance, Marketing, Legal, and Publicity offices, to name a few. 

Location: Virtual

Pay: Paid, hourly rate varies depending on the internship

Program Dates: 20 weeks (fall/spring) or 10 weeks (summer)

Commitment: 21 hours (fall/spring) or 28 hours (summer) per week

Eligibility: Anyone 18 years of age or older

Application Deadline: March 15

3. Writers House

Writers House is an independent literary agency with offices in New York City and La Jolla, CA. They offer a small but robust internship program that can be tailor-fit to meet the participants’ interests. Program graduates have gone on to work in editorial, publicity, marketing, sales, and contract positions at major publishing houses. Applications are accepted via email at [email protected]

Location: New York, NY; or La Jolla, CA

Pay: Stipend of $200 per month

Program Dates: Twelve to sixteen weeks — Autumn (October to January), Spring (February to May), or Summer (June to August)

Commitment: 24 hours per week

Eligibility: Open to all

Application Deadline: Rolling applications

Top Journalism Internships

1. Los Angeles Times: High School Insider Program

The Los Angeles Times’ High School Insider (HSI) program is a platform and community for young readers and writers interested in journalism. Participants in the program develop their writing and research skills by crafting and publishing articles for the HSI platform. In addition to access to free conferences and access to LA Times staff writers, participants in the program can apply for paid summer internships.

Location: Virtual

Pay: Unpaid, can apply for a paid summer internship

Program Dates: ongoing

Commitment: Flexible

Eligibility: All high school students

Application Deadline: None (paid internship application opens in April/May)

2. City Limits’ CLARIFY News

CLARIFY News is an investigative journalism internship through City Limits. City Limits, founded in 1976, is a NYC-based nonprofit covering urban problems such as housing and homelessness, climate change, and more. CLARIFY, which launched in 2014, stands for  City Limits Accountability Reporting Initiative for Youth. The program is open to 10th, 11th, and 12th graders residing in New York City with a strong interest in investigative journalism. Apply here for this paid writing internship.

Location: New York, NY

Pay: Stipend of $2000 (summer) or $500 (fall)

Program Dates: July 1st to August 8th (summer) or October 15th to December 15th (fall)


  • Summer: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. every Monday through Thursday on-site in midtown Manhattan, work from home on Fridays

  • Fall: virtual sessions two days a week, from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., with some on-site field trips

Eligibility: High school sophomores, juniors, and seniors

Application Deadline: May 24th (summer), September 9th (fall)

3. Pasquines

Pasquines is a nonprofit, volunteer-run news organization covering politics, policy, and economic issues in the U.S. territories of Puerto Rico, Guam, the US Virgin Islands, American Samoa, and the Northern Mariana Islands. All of their intern positions are filled on a volunteer basis; vacancies are regularly updated here: https://theorg.com/org/pasquines.

Location: Virtual

Pay: Unpaid

Program Dates: ongoing

Commitment: Varies by position

Eligibility: Open to all

Application Deadline: Rolling

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Top Media & Communications Internships

1. The Paley Center for Media: Hearst High School Media Internship 

The Paley Center is a NYC-based nonprofit exploring the history and influence of media in American culture and society. The organization encompasses a museum (which is open to the public) and extensive archives covering 100 years of broadcasting history. Their high school internship program is a paid opportunity for students to explore careers in media while gaining hands-on experience in script and column writing, production research, and digital storytelling.

Location: Virtual or in-person (Monmouth County, NJ; only applies to teaching interns)

Pay: $16 per hour plus Metrocard

Program Dates: July 1st to August 2nd

Commitment: Three to five days per week, 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM

Eligibility: Rising high school juniors and seniors

Application Deadline: April 12th at 5:00 PM

2. Project Write-Now

Founded in 2014, Project Write-Now is an education nonprofit that organizes writing classes, workshops, and events for children, teens, and adults. Most of their teen internships are open to 15 - 18-year-olds throughout the country, although their teaching interns must be located near their headquarters in Monmouth County, NJ.

Location: Virtual or in-person (Monmouth County, NJ; only applies to teaching interns)

Pay: Unpaid

Program Dates: Varies by internship

Commitment: Varies by internship; mandatory virtual training sessions in late June

Eligibility: High school students aged 15 - 18 years old

Application Deadline: Rolling

3. Building-U

Building-U is a student-run platform that supports students in the U.S. and Canada through access to free resources and information on post-graduation options. Their volunteer internships are open to high school students in grades 9-12. Possible internships include Resource R&D, Marketing, and “Blog Squad”.

Location: Virtual

Pay: Unpaid

Program Dates: 3 months minimum, program runs year-round

Commitment: Varies

Eligibility: current high school students

Application Deadline: Rolling

4. Communications Internships Through Your School District

Many school districts offer communications internships for interested local students. For example, Arcadia Unified School District in California has a strong digital communications internship, while Aledo Independent School District in Texas offers a multimedia communications internship. Contact your school’s administration to find out if a similar program is available, or if it would be possible to start one!

Location: Varies

Pay: Varies

Program Dates: Varies

Commitment: Varies

Eligibility: Varies

Application Deadline: Varies

Application Tips for English Internships

Building a Strong Application

Most of the internships listed above have application requirements including a detailed résumé, a cover letter, one or more writing samples, and in some cases, a letter of recommendation. When applying for any internship, remember that companies will consider the strength of your writing; this is especially true for language-focused internships such as those in publishing, journalism, and communications. To ensure you submit your best work, always start your applications early and consider narrowing your list based on the amount of time you will be able to spend writing, revising, and editing your applications. Pro tip: throughout the application process, be sure to gain clarity on how to get academic credit for your internship!

Crafting an Engaging Cover Letter

Writing a great cover letter starts with researching the company and the internship you are applying for. Hiring managers want to know that you are familiar with their work and with the responsibilities of the position you are signing up for. Start by spending twenty to thirty minutes reading through the company’s website to understand its overall values and how it positions itself compared to similar companies. Figure out who your boss would be (LinkedIn can be a helpful tool for this) and what they are looking for in a candidate.

When starting to write, remember that it’s best to avoid reusing content from other cover letters. Be concise (two to three paragraphs). Don’t try to convince the reader yet that you are perfect for the job; at this stage, the idea is to spark their interest in you. Relate yourself and your goals to the company and to the role you want.

Résumé Tips for English Students

A résumé is a summary (usually about one page in length) of your professional and educational experiences. While there is no one-size-fits-all secret to writing the best possible résumé, keep the following in mind:

  • Keep it simple. Use bullet points, and don’t go overboard with details and explanations. (If the reader is intrigued but has some questions, they will contact you for an interview. That’s the goal!)

  • Formatting is key. Present yourself clearly and professionally.

  • Highlight individual projects. For example, if you completed a creative writing project that was published in a literary journal, brag about it! 

  • Don’t add fluff. If your résumé is less than one page, avoid the temptation to add filler words or make strange formatting choices that will distract the reader.

Don’t forget to utilize your resources. If you’re an undergraduate or graduate student, head to your university’s career services or writing center for help!

Polygence Scholars Are Also Passionate About

Maximizing Your Internship Experience

Setting Professional Goals

Congratulations: you landed your English internship! Now the real work starts. To ensure that you maximize your hard-earned internship position, you need to decide what you want to get out of it. What are your goals? Is there a particular skill set you want to acquire, like writing stories? Is there an editor you want to meet? A career path you want to explore? Make a list of everything you want to have accomplished by the end of your experience.

Networking and Mentorship in English Fields

Building your professional network is one of the most valuable benefits of completing an internship. Take advantage of it by building strong relationships with mentors who can continue to guide you as you develop your career. Throughout your internship experience, you will have constant opportunities to meet new people. For example, if you are interning in the editorial department at a publishing company, you’ll meet the other people on your team, but you’ll also probably get to meet people from the marketing and graphic design departments. Simply asking someone what they do is a great way to start a conversation. Building genuine relationships is a key to career development.

Transforming Internship Opportunities into Job Offers

For many interns, one goal is to eventually turn the internship into a full-time job offer. Indeed, plenty of companies use their internship programs to recruit and train future employees. Whether you are going back to school after the internship or hoping to proceed directly into the industry, keep in touch with the connections you make during the experience. When it comes time to apply for jobs, a great internal recommendation from your internship supervisor will set you apart.

Opportunities at Polygence

Polygence offers flexible opportunities for students to work with mentors while developing their passion projects in language, literature, creative writing, and more! For instance, Talia worked with her mentor to analyze a novel by Albert Camus, while Vianca published a series of reviews of Greek-inspired novels and plays.

Want to spend the summer completing research or a project related to English, literature, or writing? Polygence’s mentorship program connects you with a one-on-one mentor on your schedule. If you’re still looking for ideas, check out our suggestions for projects in creative writing and literature!