We would have liked the opportunity to address her concerns while she was here but at no time during her two-week internship did she raise … any issues or concerns relating to the nature and the people and processes she was exposed to.
Herald Sun editor in-chief, Phil Gardner, quoted in 'Article pits Hun against student intern' from The Age.
Gardner here makes an interesting point. If Ms Burden was really offended by the actions of those around her, why didn't she say anything at the time?
Maybe she was scared to and maybe she felt threatened. Maybe she knew enough at the time to know that she couldn't actually identify all the nuance that was going on around her.
Whatever the case was, she failed her journalism internship. Didn't think you could fail an internship? Oh, you totally can.
Journalism is about understanding the sides of the story and knowing how to write it. One very important side of the story is the audience. The Herald Sun has a particular audience and the people who make that paper know how to make it the highest selling daily in the country.
Another way a journalist understands all aspects of the story is by asking questions. Decisions were being made, things were being said and Ms Burden didn't understand why. Questions were important here and Mr Gardner makes us believe that none were asked.
But then, in her piece in Farrago, Ms Burden, writing as "Anonymous", includes this:
Our journalism lecturers teach us that one of the most important rules in an internship is to not question your superiors. Don’t rock the boat, don’t tell the editors how to do their job, don’t make a mess, and don’t cause a fuss.
We need to wonder, is this what they are really taught in journalism classes? Do they make it clear that there is a difference between telling editors how to do their jobs and asking them why certain decisions were made?
It's easy to be condescending to young people and to make fun of them for the dumb things they do. I do it all the time. It's fun but it doesn't achieve anything with regard to making people better at what they do. If she had a problem with the way things were done at "The Hun" she should have asked someone why they were done that way. The fact that she didn't does not reflect as badly on her as it does on Melbourne University. I'm very surprised that The Age did not seek comment from Margaret Simons, Director for the Centre of Advanced Journalism.
The article in Farrago made one statement with regard to "The Hun" newsroom that rings true:
Although he had a right to state an opinion,the blatant sense of entitlement and privilege in the room was palpable.
It also, however, rings true of every TV production office, law firm, commercial radio station, magazine publisher, record label, design studio and student newspaper office I have ever set foot into. It comes with the territory.