Downie To Interns: David Broder Gets His Own Coffee

Earlier today, Leonard Downie held an online chat where he answered questions about the Post’s internship program. Some excerpts:

Alexandria, Va.: What is the Post’s policy about hiring interns who have a previous affiliation to partisan political campaigns or ideologically-aligned think tanks, interest groups, or opinion journals? And how many interns tend to hail from politically or ideologically driven backgrounds, and of them, are most of them from left-of-center enterprises like The New Republic or The Nation?

Leonard Downie: We generally don’t hire anyone (not counting editorial writers and opinion columnists) who has worked in partisan or ideological jobs. We’ve hired some people from magazines, including the New Republic, but not The Nation. Mostly, our staff members come from other newspapers all over the country. As for summer interns, they are all university students (juniors, seniors or grad students) who have interned at other newspapers.

Houston: What criteria do you use to evaluate potential interns, and what will I be doing as an intern? Will I be writing stories and editing live copy, or will I be getting David Broder’s coffee?

Leonard Downie: Summer interns at The Washington Post do the same work as our full-time reporters, editors, photogrpahers, news artists and page designers. So our primary criteria is evidence from previous internships and student journalism that an intern candidate can do the work.

Tenafly, N.J.: I’d like to apply for an internship with the Post, but I’m slightly concerned the outlet may be sold to Rupert Murdoch. Will it be?

Leonard Downie: No. The Washington Post Co. is a public company whose voting stock is controlled by the Graham family.