Update from Knight News Challenge

Ed note: It's a good thing when places soften their rejections with compliments. If the idea's pitched elsewhere in the future, they can truthfully claim that the Knight News Challenge called it "a good idea."

Dear [name redacted],

Thank you for your recent application [project title removed] for funding through the Knight News Challenge. We have reviewed your request, and unfortunately, we must decline your application at this time. Even though you submitted a good idea, it does not meet the specific requirement of using the latest innovations in technique to inform communities.

Because there are thousands of application and only a few of them advance, we are able to choose only the most innovative ideas. These are new kinds of technologies or techniques, usually things we have never heard of before.

Please understand this does not reflect on the quality of your work. This is an extremely competitive contest. Even good applications can be declined. This particular contest can select only a tiny fraction of the most promising, innovative applications that expand digital news and information in defined geographic communities.

You can read more about the Knight News Challenge here: http://www.newschallenge.org

If you have other ideas that fall within the guidelines for the News Challenge, we encourage you to submit them.

We appreciate the value of your work and wish you success in attracting support from other sources.

Knight News Challenge Staff

Wired magazine: The one percent club

Most selective internship we've featured on this blog. Gig pays $12/hr.

From Joanna Pearstein
[E-mail removed]
Fri, Jun 26, 2009

Wired's internship program


Thank you for your interest in Wired's editorial internship program. We received a record 400 applications for four spots, and I'm sorry to say that you were not selected. Should you be interested in applying in the future, we'll next be seeking interns in November 2009; watch Mediabistro.com for details.

We appreciate your interest in Wired Magazine and wish you all the best.

Joanna Pearlstein
Senior Editor, Research

LATimes internship: Rejection by numbers

When another contributor to this blog posted a rejection from the MetPro/LAT training internship, I had thought the letter looked familiar. Going back through my rejection archives, I discovered that the two letters - sent more than two years apart and written by the same man - are eerily similar.
Below the LATimes summer 2007 internship rejection letter, I've attached a copy of the 2009 MetPro/LAT rejection letter with the copied wording bolded.

Chronicle for Higher Education

Straightforward letter from a niche publication that often publishes really, really good reporting. Has a real, handwritten signature on it.

Newsweek: Unpaid and impersonal

Been sifting through the rejection archives. To send in your rejection letters (anonymity guaranteed) forward e-mails or scans to rejectionblog@gmail.com
This Newsweek internship was unpaid and in New York in early 2008. Not getting the internship saved me a few thousand dollars.
I like that the letter contains the phrase "We need smart, committed people like you in our profession." In future cover letters, I'm going to find a way to work this in, the same way movie ads will take positive adjectives from movie critics and splash them across the page in big bold letters:

"Smart," "committed."
-Mark Miller, Newsweek Assistant Managing Editor

NBCuni: Most generic form letter award winner

Thank you to our e-mail contributor from Pennsylvania for sharing in this cathartic enterprise.

From: staffingcenter@nbcuni.com <Enterprise@trm.brassring.com>
Date: [redacted], Feb [redacted], 2009 at [redacted]
Subject: Press Coordinator Position (1004229)
To: [Name withheld]

Dear [redacted],

I am sending you this email as you either applied directly to NBC
Universal for the position of Press Coordinator, Job Number 1004229) or your resume was in our database and you were considered for this position.

We wanted to inform you that this position has been filled.

We would still like to maintain your resume/CV in our electronic database located in the U.S., hosted by a third party provider.

The database allows us to match the skills on your resume/CV against the requirements of other open positions. If a relevant match is made, a business representative will contact you to discuss the opportunity.

By initially sending in your resume/CV, you consented to your resume/CV being processed and maintained in our electronic database consistent with GE’s Candidate Data Protection Standards. You may review these guidelines at www.gecareers.com. If you no longer consent, please send an email to chr.webmaster@corporate.ge.com requesting that your resume be deleted from the database. Please provide your full first name, last name, mailing address and home telephone number. Any emails sent to this address for any other purpose other than the above will not be responded to and will be discarded. Alternatively, you may send a letter to the address provided in GE's Candidate Data Protection Standards.

If you would like to know what other positions are available at GE, please visit www.gecareers.com. Job opportunities that are available and open to external candidates will be posted on this site. You can easily set up a job agent and be notified via email when available job openings that meet your criteria are posted to the site. Simply click on Expanded Search and then Job Agent and follow the instructions.

Once again, we thank you for your interest in GE and we wish you every success in your job search.


NBCU Human Resources

USC Specialized Journalism Graduate Program

Wouldn't one expect the head of a Master's program in Journalism to avoid opening a letter with such a tired cliché?

Apparently not.

Los Angeles Times Metpro Training Internship

This application was a total pain in the ass, and the writing test took hours of copy editing and rewriting before I could even send in the application. I probably shouldn't have applied to this in the first place though, seeing as I cover sports and this is a two-year basic news writing position.

MLB.com Reporting Internship

1 message
Hill, Bill Tue, Mar 3, 2009 at 12:20 AM
Thank you for your interest in MLB.com’s summer internship program for associate reporters. We had more than 400 applicants for 30 slots. We reviewed your resume, clips and essay, but unfortunately, you were not selected.

If you are still a student next Fall, you will be eligible for our 2010 internship program. In that case, I would encourage you to continue to gain more journalism experience and then apply again in November.

Again, thank you again for sharing your information with us and best wishes in your future career endeavors.
Bill Hill
Assistant Managing Editor/MLB.com
MLB.com: Where Baseball is Always On

This is supposed to be an incredible opportunity, but I wouldn't know; that's two years in a row that I have been rejected. They don't even seem to be trying as hard anymore, as last year's rejection came by snail mail and this year they resort to a mass email. Glad to know that I am loved.

I bet that if I started taking performance-enhancement drugs to improve my writing, MLB would welcome me with open arms.

The Institute for Humane Studies Journalism Internship Program

John Elliott Mon, Feb 23, 2009 at 4:41 PM
Reply-To: journalism@theihs.org
Dear (applicant),

Thank you for applying to the IHS Journalism Internship program. Unfortunately, your application was not selected as a finalist. We had 650 applications this year and only 18 internships. The competition was very tough. I encourage you to apply again next year and to continue to apply to other IHS programs that might be valuable to you.

In particular, you might be interested in applying for the 'Journalism & the Free Society' summer seminar, June 6-12, 2009. This workshop will examine both nuts-and-bolts issues about media operations as well as broader philosophical inquiries into the role of communication, information, and media. The application deadline is March 31.


John Elliott
Journalism Program Director
Institute for Humane Studies

You've got to love any rejection letter that tries to further shill its product long after showing an applicant the door. That's about as classy as it gets.

[Update: Turns out the seminars are free, except for the cost of travel. Still, not a great rejection letter.]

Fox Sports Radio

Thank you for your interest in FOX Sports Radio.

You mentioned that you would be graduating in May. Unfortunately, since this is an unpaid internship, our company policy dictates that to participate proof of college credit from your institution must be provided. Please don't let this discourage you.....keep looking as there are other companies that will bring people aboard for the experience.

I wish you the best in all your future endeavors. Congratulations too on getting that diploma!


Deborah Ahn
Fox Sports Radio Networks
Clear Channel Worldwide
Tel: xxx.xxx.xxxx
Fax: xxx.xxx.xxxx

You know that it's sad when you offer to work absolutely for free and they still say no... my life sucks. This is definitely a nice, personal letter though with a very quick turnaround time -- I only sent off the application last night!

Virginian-Pilot: There are also applicants who misspelled the name of our newspaper

Denise Bridges

Mon, Jan 26, 2009

Thank you for your interest in our internship program


Thank you very much for your letter, resume and clips supporting your interest in a summer internship at The Virginian-Pilot. We reviewed nearly 300 excellent packages. Narrowing down the choices has not been an easy task. We are now ready to move to the next phase of the selection process with candidates we believe are better suited for the needs of our newsroom. Your application will not be among them.

Many factors were considered, the top one being that we will not have as many interns this summer as we have in previous years. Some applicants had excellent academic credentials but their clips did not demonstrate the breadth of experience or skill we expected. Some students had not done much work for their campus publications, a requirement for our program, or had not had any previous internships. A few applicants had already graduated. In order to be eligible for this year’s summer program, students must currently be enrolled in college. There are also applicants who misspelled the name of our newspaper or had other errors that stood out as red flags.

Because we received so many applications, I am not in a position to give individual critiques about your work. While you were not one of those selected as a finalist, we appreciate your interest in our newspaper and the time you invested in the application process. If you’re still in school for another year, I’d encourage you to keep up the good efforts, and perhaps we’ll see your application next time.
You may still have time to apply for other internships. Web sites such as journalismjobs.com, journalismnext.com, cubreporters.org, asne.org/internships and freep.com/legacy/jobspage/interns/index.htm are excellent places to seek out such opportunities.

Good luck to you in your search for summer employment.

Denise Bridges
Director of Newsroom Operations and Staff Development
The Virginian-Pilot

Related (via Romenesko): Virginian-Pilot staff, others take five unpaid days off in 2009

I guess it could have been worse...

WOW. And I thought I was going to be disillusioned by a rejection from Disney. The rejection in the previous post shows just how much they have changed in the last 70 years. Imagine: By 2079, my great-grandchildren may have a shot at getting a job at The Happiest Place on Earth!

I knew Walt Disney was supposed to be a racist, but he was apparently quite the sexist as well. But you have to appreciate the evil witch drawn below the signature for added effect; there's nothing like using one of Disney's most wicked early characters to drive the point home.

Thanks to Kelsey for the tip.

ESPN: How depressing is it to be rejected by Disney? There goes my childhood...

donotreply@espn.com Fri, Jan 16, 2009 at (time)
Reply-To: disneycareers.response@disneycareers.com
To: (applicant)

Thank you for taking the time to submit your resume for our opening.

While it is never easy to narrow a search and select a final candidate, we have recently completed the process. The position has been filled with the candidate we feel best meets the qualifications for the position at this time. Please note that while more than one applicant may meet the minimum qualifications of a position, the candidate selected is determined by overall skills, experience, and other relevant elements of professional background.

Other employment opportunities are available and we encourage you to review the vacancies posted on our website, www.espn.com/joinourteam. Again, thank you for your application and interest. Good luck to you in your search.


Staffing Dept.

ESPN, Inc.

** Please note that this email address does not accept replies.**

Fuck unpaid internships

The community news blogger in the west metro is soliciting three media interns for the upcoming spring semester to "write stories, create podcasts, and record and posting video related to the Wayzata Community."

The internships will be unpaid, but the students will be able to earn credit for the work that they do.
"They will be published in a way that posting something on a Myspace or Facebook page cannot replicate," Gustafson noted.
via MinnPost

Bullshit bullshit bullshit. Kudos to guy the who created Wayzata.com. He's trying something new and putting himself out there with his project, but don't expect quality from unpaid interns unless you're truly providing education or experience (or even name recognition) that can't be replicated elsewhere.

Boston Globe: Only the Top 2 Percent Need Apply

January 13, 2009

Thank you for applying to The Boston Globe’s summer intern program.
We are honored that you would consider the Globe as a newspaper where you would want to work.

You were not among the 11 students selected for The Boston Globe’s
summer internship program in 2008. The accomplishments of the more than 500 applicants made the selection process an extremely difficult one.

Best of luck in the coming year and beyond.

Paula Bouknight
AME/Hiring & Development

Orlando Sentinel: Sign of the Times?

Thank you for applying for an Orlando Sentinel summer internship.

Our program has been put on hold because of budget concerns. It’s still possible we may hire some interns for the summer, but we cannot make any offers at this time.

I wanted you to know about your status with us, and if we learn that we can move ahead with internships, you may hear from me again.

Best regards,
Dana Eagles 

Staff Development Editor, Orlando Sentinel

Denver Post: "Best Wishes"

New York Times: Classy

Only the New York Times would send rejection letters on classy card stock. I guess they're the only ones in the industry who can afford it right now, so why not?

Our paths will cross again at some point, just you wait.

Atlanta Journal-Constitution: "Take a chance. Work hard. And stay determined."

Three percent acceptance rate. This probably explains their small internship program: AJC is losing $1 million a week

Tampa Trib: Cancelled!

One of several that has been cancelled this year.

From: SBrewster@tampatrib.com
Date: Tue, Jan 6, 2009 at 9:55 AM
Subject: The Tampa Tribune 2009 summer internship program.

I bring you sad news regarding The Tampa Tribune's 2009 summer internship program.


Due to our current economic situation, we have had to make some difficult choices regarding our newsroom budget.

It is unfortunate, but we have decided to suspend our 10-week summer internship program for this year.

I apologize to you for how all of this has unfolded. I know you have invested time, energy and hope in the applying for the positions we posted six months ago. Unfortunately, we were unable to foresee the current conditions that have led us to suspend the program.

My hope is that this news reaches you in time to apply for other opportunities with internship programs.

I wish you good luck in your search.


Richard (Duke) Maas
Managing Editor
The Tampa Tribune

Washington Post - 4.4% accepted

Received 12/8/08. Surprisingly low number of applicants for such a large paper. Likely due to time-intensive application (two letters of reference, essay, clips, etc):

from: Peter Perl (e-mail address)
to: (applicant)
date: Mon, Dec 8, 2008 at (time)
subject: Message from The Washington Post Summer News Program

Dear Mr. (applicant):

This is to let you know that you have not been chosen for our 2009 summer intern program. We much appreciate the time and effort you took to participate in this application process. We had to make some very difficult decisions, as we received more than 450 applications for only 20 internship positions, a particularly intense competition.

I want to assure you that your application received a very serious reading by our panel of editors, and I hope you continue your pursuit of a journalism career. I wish the very best in that endeavor.

Yours truly,

Peter Perl
Assistant Managing Editor/Personnel
The Washington Post
1150 15th St. NW
Washington, DC 20071
Tel: (number)
Fax: (number)
(e-mail address)

Note: If you wish to confirm the contents of this e-mail, you may do so by logging in to your application account at http://intern.washpost.com .


Young journalists across the country know the thrill of sending out tens of applications each fall in eager anticipation of tens of rejection letters (followed, hopefully, by one phone call offering a job.) This blog will be chronicling the art form known as the rejection letter. To contribute, rejection e-mails and scans of rejection letters can be sent to rejectionblog@gmail.com . All applicant names and phone numbers will be edited out.