The Digiday guide to the top digital media and agency internships

It’s now finally spring — allegedly — which means internship season is nigh. Now is the time when eager college students and recent grads with dreams of a career in the marketing, advertising or digital media world start to scour the Web and ask around about internship opportunities.

The thing with internships is that you never really know what kind of useful experience or knowledge you will actually get out of it, and typically digital media internships — well, most internships unless you’re an intern at Google or Goldman —  don’t pay much. But it’s still something that looks good on a resume and can be a way to get a foot in the door at a company you like. It could even evolve into an actual job, if you’re really good — and lucky.

Digiday did some pavement pounding on behalf of internship seekers. Here are six companies whose internship programs are worth checking out if you are a college student or recent grad itching to get into the digital media and ad word. You can thank us with your signing bonus:

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Internship job title: Audience development fellow
Location: Anywhere (virtual office)
Compensation: $1,500/month
Duration: Open-ended, start date ASAP

This sounds like a pretty sweet gig if you’re a social media fiend — it’s paid and you can work from home (or wherever) as long as you have a computer and phone handy. (Upworthy, interestingly enough, doesn’t believe in offices — everyone works remotely.) Upworthy is looking for someone to help it continue to expand its audience and get its social media-driven content shared even more. According to the job description, the ideal candidate is someone who “lives and breathes the Internet,” has had some experience building or moderating online communities, is creative and has good writing skills and hopefully has a decent social media presence of their own. The fellowship will start at 20 hours per week with opportunities for growth.

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The Barbarian Group
Internship job title: several opportunities
Location: New York
Compensation: Paid (unspecified)
Duration: Summer

The Barbarian Group internship program offers learning opportunities across the agency’s departments. Prospective interns can apply for positions in social and earned media, creative (art and copy), production, user experience, strategy, technology, account management and PR. According to the internship program description, interns are treated like staff and are given plenty of hands-on experience. Those who excel are given projects and tasks that go “far beyond your typical internship program.”

If you need to see it to believe it, just check out the website built by TBG’s summer 2013 interns showcasing the skills they learned, the kinds of projects they worked on (including things like research, pitching, and building 404 pages) and the kind of office culture they got to be a part of — think: rooftop parties and an abundance of free food. All interns are paid, although the agency wouldn’t share exactly how much, but it is based on any relevant experience and collegiate level. The Barbarian Group said it will be taking on about 12 interns this summer. So good luck, applicants!

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Internship job title: Several opportunities
Location: New York and San Francisco
Compensation: Paid (unspecified)
Duration: 11 weeks, exact dates vary by office

R/GA is currently looking for analytics, copywriting, experience design, production and technology interns. All of the internship opportunities involve working on real accounts and shadowing senior colleagues. All interns get to take part in training sessions, seminars, panels and an intern project. According to Jennifer Remling, svp of talent at R/GA, last year the agency converted 75 percent of its interns who were graduating into full-time hires. They will also possibly be offering jobs to some of last year’s interns who are graduating this year. So if you want to work at R/GA, starting as an intern is a pretty good way to get a head start. All internships are paid; however, the agency wouldn’t disclose the exact amount.

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Sub Rosa
Internship job title: Content intern
Location: New York
Compensation: Paid, hourly (unspecified)
Duration: Four days/week (~24 hours)

Sub Rosa, as its founder and CEO Michael Ventura frames it, is an “experience design practice.” The small shop is looking for an intern to assist the content director “streamline departmental processes.” According to the job description, the role will involve doing vendor research and data entry — typical intern busy work. However, the intern will be able to participate in group brainstorm sessions. Another upside is that because Sub Rosa is on the small side — it’s about 45 people — there is a real opportunity for interns to get a feel for how the agency functions and get up close and personal with the work.

Sub Rosa is looking for someone with great written and verbal skills, familiarity with MS Office and Adobe Creative Suite. Also, candidates must be enrolled in a TV or media-related undergrad program. Check out Digiday’s agency tour of Sub Rosa to get a sense of the office space and culture.

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Internship job title: Editorial and video interns, editorial fellows
Location: New York and Los Angeles
Compensation: Paid (unspecified)
Duration: Three months

Everyone’s favorite viral content and listicle machine is looking for editorial interns in the areas of food, music and celebrity. It is also looking for a video intern and several editorial fellows. Both internships and fellowships are paid, although BuzzFeed would not share the exact amount. According to BuzzFeed, all interns and fellows receive training and attend workshops throughout the course of the program, and interns and fellows are included in company activities and events and are given free lunches and snacks. Internship and fellowship listings stipulate that BuzzFeed is looking for positive people — “no haters” allowed. And according to Catherine Bartosevich, senior director of press at BuzzFeed, many of the fellows and interns end up landing full-time gigs.

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Carrot Creative
Internship job title: Design intern
Location: New York
Compensation: $10/hour
Duration: 11 weeks

Carrot Creative, which is now part of the Vice family, is currently looking for a design intern, but according to the agency there will be more internship listings up in time for summer. For the design internship, Carrot is looking for someone who understands user interface design and knows their way around the Adobe creative suite and HTML, CSS and Javascript.

The design intern will be working on everything from wireframe to final design and will be have opportunities to be involved in the creative pitch process. According to Gabrielle Schaefer, director of global communication at Carrot Creative, interns are treated as equals and enjoy all of the perks employees do — including perks like weekly roof yoga and a subscription to the agency’s CSA Farmigo. Not too shabby. Also, there is an opportunity for interns to grow into full-time employees. As Shaefer explained, the agency’s chief creative officer Steve Badowski started as an intern back in the day. Bonus: Carrot Creative will provide housing for anyone not from the tri-state area.

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