The Social Impact Team at MTV is charged with using the network’s superpowers for good. The group develops and manages multi-platform social change initiatives that empower America’s youth to have an impact on the biggest challenges facing their generation. The MTV public affairs group works with every department across the network – including programming, digital, social, mobile, MTV News, marketing, sales, press, MTV2, and mtvU.
Our campaigns include the Emmy-winning “Look Different,” MTV’s newest anchor campaign helping America’s youth to better recognize and challenge hidden racial, gender and anti-LGBT biases; mtvU’s Peabody-winning “Half of Us,” which attacks the stigma that’s made suicide the number two killer of college students; and many more.
Students who have knowledge/interest in pop culture as well as social justice issues are encouraged to apply.
Skills: strong writers, people who can turn things around quickly, and creative people. Graphic design skills are a major plus.
Viacom is one of the world’s leading creators of entertainment content, with brands that engage and connect diverse audiences across television, online, mobile, games, virtual worlds and consumer products. With more than160 channels worldwide, Viacom owns and operates favorites including MTV, MTV2, mtvU, VH1,Nickelodeon, Nick at Nite, TV Land, Comedy Central, Spike, CMT, MTV Hits, MTV Jams, Tr3s,GameTrailers, VH1 Classic, Palladia, Logo, Nick Jr.,TeenNick, ParentsConnect, Nicktoons, BET, and Paramount.
A Viacom Internship allows college students to work in an innovative, progressive, fast-paced and professional environment. Students are exposed to all levels of the company, which has proven to be an invaluable experience to individuals interested in pursuing a career in the entertainment industry. Viacom is committed to diversifying our organization. Embracing differences is an integral part of our culture, and a key element of our success is creating and maintaining an inclusive environment.
2016 Intern Reflection:
Working at MTV has been one of the most exhilarating, hands-on experiences that I have had at Harvard University. On day one, the small team immediately began to include me on projects and assignments I never thought I would have the opportunity to do as a college-age intern. Moreover, the fact that the team (and really the company itself) is pretty young and creative, office culture requires young people take up intense and important projects. Initially nervous that my lack of background in journalism would disadvantage me, my team and the intern I work with quickly reassured me that I would be able to do very well in such a fun, challenging, and exciting workplace environment. Also, before coming to MTV, I was skeptical that large corporations such as Viacom (the company that owns MTV and other television stations such as Nickelodeon, BET, Comedy Central, and Logo) would dedicate any of its resources to social good; all of my projects thus far have proved to me otherwise. MTV, and Viacom as a whole, is more than dedicated to eliminating biases and discrimination that have been institutionalized in our society.
Since the workplace is very young and very dynamic, my day-to-day has me working on several projects all the while being flexible in case a smaller project with a tight deadline were to pop up randomly. My daily tasks require that I keep up to date with the latest news and deciding which ones would appeal most to our Millennial audience (people usually between the ages of 17 and 35). I have been working on the team’s latest campaign called Elect This, which is a platform for young people to use their voice and engage with the political issues that matter the most to them. I gathered research that will be used in a pitch for a potential MTV documentary, and I even got to work on the premier of Logo’s documentary Out of Iraq at the United Nations headquarters! However, the greatest privilege thus far has been being able to work in partnership with Logo Television (the world’s largest LGBT television network) after the Pulse Massacre in Orlando. Identifying as a queer individual, being able to work on the Trailblazer Honors (which were dedicated to the victims of Orlando) and then be able to participate in social justice projects within MTV and Logo to take a stand on gun violence and anti-LGBTQ hate crimes has been very powerful and extremely humbling. Like I mentioned before, I never thought a corporation would actively want to make a social difference for the benefit of larger society instead of for the corporation itself; this summer has been a very eye-opening experience that has broken every pre-conceived notion I had of not only the corporate world, but also the manners in which one can go about social change. Thank you very much everyone at the IOP who has made this opportunity possible for me.
David Coletti '17
2015 Intern Reflection:
My internship at MTV has been an engaging and informative opportunity to learn about public service within a major corporation. The team here is quite small, which means that even as an intern, you get to contribute in meaningful ways to a variety of projects. Despite the size of the department, the output is huge – in the four weeks that I have been here, we’ve launched a new online platform where people can post and chat about different biases, announced a major documentary premiering in a few weeks, created an app-like tool that helps you to calculate the privileges you may or may not experience, and started planning for an event with the White House.
My work has mostly been research – creating “one-sheets” that will eventually go online as an educational resource on issues ranging from “LGBT Hate-Crimes” to “Women in Sports.” I’ve also started writing and publishing to the website of our campaign “Look Different,” which examines racial, gender and anti-LGBT biases and explores how we can overcome our own biases. Every day, 21I find 4-5 relevant news stories that have to do with one of those three umbrella topics and write copy that accompanies the links. I’ve learned a lot about the news cycle, and how stories become viral, as well as how to write effective and interesting copy. I’ve also gotten to sit in on brainstorm meetings for new projects coming up, and even contributed ideas for names and features. If you are someone who wants to see how public service fits into one of the largest entertainment/media companies, MTV Public Affairs would be a great place for you.
Eriko Kay '17
2014 Intern Reflection:
My internship with MTV Public Affairs has been informative, rewarding, and above all, exciting. This summer, I was able to see how a large media brand like MTV can use its influence to address the issues that affect my generation. To give some logistical details, I worked Monday through Friday from 10am to 6pm in the heart of Times Square. MTV is based in Viacom’s headquarters, which hosts hundreds of interns every summer, so even though my department was small, I was able to network with employees and fellow interns from different departments within Viacom’s other channels.
The Public Affairs department is always busy. There was no making copies or fetching coffee; instead, I was given the opportunity to meaningfully contribute to MTV’s social campaigns, specifically the Look Different campaign which focuses on revealing the hidden racial, gender and anti-LGBT biases that Millennials experience and witness everyday. There are numerous opportunities for interns to impact the campaigns. For example, when the singing group Fifth Harmony wanted to get involved with the Look Different project, I pitched an idea that was eventually used in the interview with the group.
Generally, my everyday work was grounded in research, and assignments covered relevant topics ranging from gun violence to LGBT rights to gender roles to the effects racial slurs and much, much more. Additionally, social media was essential to my work, and it was so rewarding to track how the public was embracing the campaign via Twitter, Tumblr, and Facebook. All in all, I really felt like a part of the MTV Public Affairs team, and I am incredibly proud of the work I completed in the past ten weeks. I received great mentorship and gained valuable insight into how the entertainment industry can intersect with public service.
Jacqueline Clark ‘15