It's a sign.

Announcing a new six-month paid internship at The Spinoff

Attention: aspiring writers and reporters.

Today The Spinoff announces a brand new internship, running for six months and paid the living wage, for writers without newsroom experience who would like to join our Auckland-based team. The successful candidate will spend six months based at our office, gaining experience across reporting, feature writing, editing, video production, podcasting and more.

Jointly-funded by the Auckland Radio Trust and the Spinoff Members, the internship can be taken up at any time in 2020, allowing candidates of the 2020 graduating classes to apply. The ART is funding this in memory of Vince Geddes, its long-time station manager, while The Spinoff Members is contributing to affirm our commitment to giving fresh voices a chance to join our newsroom and experience life in a modern news magazine startup.

When Madeleine Chapman started as an intern at The Spinoff in 2016, she had no formal writing or journalism qualifications, yet had written an extraordinary feature about her quest to meet the novelist Eleanor Catton. It was clear she was a major talent, and so it has proven – in four years she has won multiple awards, and become one of our most admired writers. In that spirit we are not limiting the internship to those with journalistic qualifications – if you believe you can create journalism, and have a passion for it, we’d like to hear from you.

Madeleine Chapman dressed as a landline. Photo: The Spinoff

I asked Madeleine to describe her experiences as an intern here. “I started at The Spinoff as an intern with no writing qualifications and no experience in a newsroom. I didn’t know anyone in the media, and hadn’t seen any young Pasifika writers in the newspapers growing up. All I knew was that I liked writing and wanted to get better at it. There’s an expectation that you need to start an internship fully equipped and ready to slot into the workplace as if you’ve been there forever. This is false. I had very little knowledge of the ins and outs of journalism, but I made up for it by being open to learning every new skill and also being open to failure.

“The Spinoff will give you as much or as little as you seek. And they’ll always have your back, whether you’re calling out racism and homophobia, presenting an alternate take on a cultural issue, or reviewing the best cooked taro in Wellington. Like every newsroom, there will always be transcribing and formatting and researching to do. But unlike every other newsroom, trying new things will always be encouraged. My first article published as an intern was a review of a home renovation show, because that’s what I’d been doing the week before and knew about it. I didn’t know about anything else, but by the end of my first year at The Spinoff I’d covered sports, done experiential pieces, and written a magazine-style feature on a political issue (something I’d never thought I’d be able to do).

“Internships aren’t about showing everyone what you already know, they’re about forgetting everything you know and learning ten times more. The Spinoff will have all the answers if you’re willing to ask the questions.”

To apply, please send a CV (no longer than one page), a cover letter (also no longer than one page), and one or two writing samples, to info@thespinoff.co.nz, with “2020 Intern” in the subject line. Applications close on March 31, and we will be in touch with any candidates we would like to interview within 10 days of closing.

The key points:

  • The internship is open to all writers who have not yet been employed for six months or more in a major media organisation and are eligible to work in New Zealand.
  • Applicants have until 5pm on March 31 to apply, and should send a brief cover letter, together with no more than two writing samples, to info@thespinoff.co.nz
  • The internship is jointly-funded by the Auckland Radio Trust, in memory of Vince Geddes, and Spinoff Members.


Join The Spinoff Members for as little as $1 to help us continue our work and cover the stories that matter. Get a free Toby Morris-designed tea towel when you contribute $80 or more over a year.


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