With a change made 18 months ago in the KPA internship program, today would have been the normal deadline for students to submit applications for the summer 2021 program. The KPA Board moved the deadline from the end of January to the last Friday in February. That action came at the 2019 KPA Fall Board Retreat.
But with the pandemic having affected the 2020 internship program and the affects still in place, the KPA Past Presidents discussed the situation about a month ago and reached a decision to suspend the internship program for 2021. I cannot say that when it returns, hopefully in 2022, that it will be exactly as it has been. Many newspapers are not opening their offices with a full staff and many of those employees are working from home. We will have to see if an end to the pandemic means all newspapers will reopen fully when COVID is no longer so prevalent in our communities.
The internship program has been in place since 1994 and we continue having great success with top journalism students from around the state receiving 10 weeks of professional guidance, courtesy of this program. You can look around the state at newspaper rosters today and find many who interned under the KPA program and decided to make it their career.
We did have situations in 2020 where a newspaper closed just as an intern was starting; where the parents of at least one intern did not want their student moving into a strange community; and at least three interns leaving the program about halfway through the 10-week internship. With that experience and COVID still causing concerns, the Past Presidents decided to suspend the internship program for this year.
The KPA Past Presidents are the operating authority on the structure and selecting the Host Newspapers each year.