Monday, March 30, 2015


Back in the mists of time, when I was the director of one of the state’s political parties, I used to joke that with ten good interns, you could probably run many of the smaller countries out there (San Marino, Andorra, Liechtenstein, etc.). I’m a big believer in internships here at New Harbor, and we regularly provide these kinds of opportunities – both paid and for college credit.

For any organization, the main thing to know about internships is this: If you take just a few minutes a day to plan an intern’s work, the benefits for the intern can be enormous. I usually tell interns that while they may have to go on the occasional coffee run or make copies now and then, my goal is for them to be able to walk away with something tangible for their portfolio – something they can point to at a future interview and say, “I did this.”
This summary of legislative campaign finances and a survey of the Rhode Island business community’s campaign contributions are two good examples of New Harbor intern projects.  The interns who worked on them even got some ink in one of Rhode Island’s most widely read political and policy blogs  - see #7.

On the intern’s end, here’s the short list of what I need: a professional demeanor (including wardrobe), can-do/I-can-figure-it-out approach (tempered by good judgment), and a minimum of ten regularly scheduled hours per week. A regular schedule is the key to the whole package, because it helps us plan the work, which allows the interns to put together their portfolio piece. And finally, we generally get many more inquiries than we can accommodate, so misspellings or mistakes on the resume or cover letter result in automatic disqualification.

Oh, and there’s a happy ending. Timing is crucial, but from time to time over the years, we’ve hired interns here at New Harbor and made them full-time members of our team. I expect we’ll be doing more of that in the future.