Internship Programs Ensure Future Health of Our Industry

Columns - View Point

August 11, 2016

Publishing, like any industry in the midst of a technological revolution, is undergoing a generational transformation. While the business model for daily newspapers is under the greatest financial pressure as more and more readers look to digital platforms to get their daily news fix, no one in the publishing field has been immune to the sea change that has occurred in our field during the past decade. That’s why we, at PCT magazine, continue to invest significant people and financial resources in both our print and digital products, creating cross-platform opportunities for pest management professionals to consume the essential news and product information they need to run their businesses on a daily basis in whatever form they find most convenient and desirable.

And while there is much “hand-wringing” in the world of journalism about how publishing will remain relevant in a digital age, I’m not overly concerned. Why? For two reasons. First, there always will be a need for high-quality, insightful and relevant journalism that makes a positive difference in people’s lives, whether that be in the form of a daily newspaper or an industry trade magazine. Second, a new generation of talented journalists will shape the media in their own image in the years ahead, creating a different — but no less valuable — business model that works for everyone. How do I know? Because I’ve seen the future firsthand.

For the past few years, GIE Media President and CEO Chris Foster has been a strong advocate for creating a robust internship program at our company. In 2016, we recruited nine paid interns from a number of Ohio universities, filling positions in multiple departments throughout the company including editorial, graphics, marketing and circulation. Candidates were screened by our staff, including PCT Editor Jodi Dorsch, and selected based on their college performance, interpersonal skills and areas of expertise. Most joined the company in May and worked throughout the summer before heading back to school, learning the ins and outs of the publishing world in the process.

Marisa Fernandez, a junior studying journalism at Ohio University. Go Bobcats!

Marisa Fernandez, a junior studying journalism at Ohio University — Dorsch’s alma mater coincidentally — joined our staff shortly after her spring semester ended and has contributed in myriad ways to our publication, posting stories on our website, writing feature articles, enhancing our Facebook presence and tweeting out the latest industry news.

And our experience isn’t unique. Arrow Exterminators recently completed the sixth year of its summer internship program, with college students working across numerous departments — from human resources and training to sales and marketing. “Providing opportunities to learn about the industry and the various career paths that are available is a great way to attract young, talented individuals who will be the future of our company,” observes Shay Runion, chief human resources officer and senior vice president of professional development at Arrow. “By bringing in these talented individuals at a young age, they get to see what a dynamic industry we all work in and will hopefully choose to begin their careers with us when they are ready.”

On the manufacturing side of our business, Cisse Spragins does something similar at Rockwell Labs Ltd, where she enlists young women from the Kansas City area to work in her company’s chemistry lab and manufacturing operation, performing a variety of important tasks from quality control and specification testing to formulation work and product development. This year, as part of her personal commitment to encourage young women to pursue careers in science and engineering, Spragins mentored three students through the Northland Center for Advanced Professional Studies, working at Rockwell for two-and-a-half hours every day during their spring semester in lieu of traditional classroom work. Personally, I can’t think of a better use of a CEO’s time to advance our industry.

So, if your company doesn’t currently have an internship program, it might be something to consider moving forward. During these times of great change, they represent our country’s — and your company’s — future.

The author is Publisher of PCT and can be contacted at