By Martin Xavi Macias, Journalism graduate student (’16)
If you’re a Columbia College journalism student looking for an internship or a job, Jennifer Halperin is the person you want to meet with.
Over a 20-year career as journalist, Halperin developed invaluable relationships across the media landscape. Looking back on her 10 years as internship coordinator for the Journalism Program, she shared her philosophy on cultivating networks for the benefit of students.
“In journalism, everything interconnects,” she said. “Reporters know it takes work to build sources. That’s my approach to building relationships with media professionals.”
The first students she helped connect with internships have now gone on to successful careers across the journalism spectrum. Many of them come to Halperin looking for new talent to recruit.
“It became this whole cycle, she said. “I’ve been able to connect people with exciting jobs.”
The best way to contact Halperin is by email. When you meet with her, come with an idea of where you’d like to intern – and bring a resume (even if you’re unhappy with it.)
“If I don’t get back to you within 24-hours, email me again,” she said.
Halperin, who grew up in West Rogers Park in Chicago, attended the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with the intention of studying archeology. After going on a ”dig” in Kentucky she found herself disillusioned with the field.
“I didn’t have patience for it,” she said. “Rather than looking at the past, what’s going on now?”
When she got back from Kentucky, she started working at The Daily Illini, the university’s student newspaper. Her first piece was a story about a lousy landlord. After it was published, tenants saw positive action from the landlord.
Halperin remembered thinking, “Wow, journalism can make such a difference!”
She was hooked from then on. Now she works to connect students with fruitful experiences.
“My guiding philosophy is to do what’s best for students.”