The Black Sheep Internship, Staff Writer-Virtual Position
Imagine if The Onion and Buzzfeed made a baby. Born in 2009, The Black Sheep has created outlandish, wacky articles since day one. They don’t let any Joe Shmoe with a keyboard contribute to their publication. Throughout the training process, you demonstrate your humor by using words like “wiener” in a sentence, while understanding that college students don’t want to read another article with 20 gifs describing you and your BFF.
What It’s Actually Like
The Black Sheep internship meets on campus for meetings while working off campus for interviews and articles. You’ll closely work with Black Sheep Staff in Chicago headquarters via Facebook, email and phone. As a writer, you’ll get the opportunity to walk alongside an editor who helps you find your voice in comedic, satirical writing. Who actually wants to write about things they don’t care about? At The Black Sheep, you’ll always look forward to writing your semi-absurd articles. Creative writing majors: this internship might be your dream come true.
Cool Stuff You Get to Do
Interested in meeting someone famous? “Our national presence and large audience often gives us access to bigger names that roll through campuses. So, if an artist is coming to [your town] there’s a good chance you’ll be able to interview them! We’ve had people sit down with Seth Rogan, The Weeknd, Zedd and more,” said National Campus Editor Quinn Myers. Becoming a part of this team will allow you to work with everyone at The Black Sheep, even those with different positions. You’ll begin to explore your college town and meet new people, get your work published to a wide readership and occasionally eat three slices of pizza at meetings.
What You’ll Learn
“At The Black Sheep, there are various positions a student can hold and get internship credits for and the benefits of each include getting hands-on experience working for a popular publication, learning to work toward deadlines and constantly improve/edit your work, collaborating with peers and professionals, reaching out to other local companies and people, and having fun,” said Chief Campus Editor Lauren Olster. This internship will make you think outside the box. So instead of writing an article about how much group projects suck, you’ll be challenged to write a fake story about a student who went nuts after being assigned a group project, which quickly escalated into the student vandalizing campus in a furious rage. You’ll learn how to take articles from zero to 100, real quick. Real freaking quick.
How to Prepare for Your Application
Get your creative juices flowing by scrolling through sites like The Onion or watching Adult Swim. You’ll want to master a sassy and slightly inappropriate tone before the application deadline. “Before sending in a writing sample, applicants should go to The Black Sheep website and read through some articles to get a grasp on the tone and style of writing we’re looking for. If your sample shows humor, a strong understanding of satire, and is well written, you have a good chance of getting chosen,” said Olster.
Skills that Impress Them
The Black Sheep would rather bring an eager, enthusiastic person on board than a star comedian who’s not willing to learn. “Someone important, probably Michael Scott, once said half the job is just showing up. And that’s pretty true. I mostly look for someone who goes above and beyond the call of duty,” said Myers. Finding a person dedicated to perfecting their edits and meeting deadlines offers way more value than a talented writer who requires a lot of oversight.
You’ll find a work family as a part of the staff here. “Our staff members go on barcrawls, write snarky articles and generally have an air of mystery as to who they are on campus,” said Myers. “We don’t take ourselves too seriously, and we work hard to make sure everyone improves as a writer, not just publish anything and everything someone hands in.” Plus, you could get offered to work for The Black Sheep post-graduation. Real talk—not being jobless stands as the coolest of all perks for any college student.
The Black Sheep accepts applications year round depending on availability. Sign up through their website. From there, someone will reach out to you for a writing sample and interview. Writers should expect to spend 2–4 hours per week working writing weekly articles and attending editorial meetings.
Ready to start your career journey by nailing that summer internship? Check out four steps that make it easy here.