Zach at The Washington Post post
By Dean’s Intern Zach Cohen at The Washington Post, May 2014
I didn’t believe what I was hearing. Vernon Loeb, the Local editor for THE Washington Post, was calling my cell phone in Israel offering me an internship in one of the best newspapers in the country.
I had dreamed about that moment but never expected it to happen. I had started reading The Post as soon as I arrived in Washington four years ago. I’m a print subscriber. I get the breaking news alerts. I turned to it first for political news and updates about my neighborhood, my home in Wesley Heights.
In the last four months, I’ve had slow days and busy days. There were days I scanned through Twitter and blogs for story ideas or plugged away on long-term projects. There were days were I bylined two articles for the next day’s paper.
I went to the Hill to report on accountability at The National Zoo and The White House for “Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day.” Crime stories in Northwest D.C., D.C. Superior Court, a Baltimore TV station, Great Falls, Seven Corners, Blacksburg, Ferndale, and Hyattsville. Features in Capitol Hill, Quantico, Charles County. I wrote obituaries for a foreign correspondent turned Pulitzer-prize winning editor, a blind hiker, a TV actor, a fair housing proponent, and an octopus. I reported on local politics in D.C. and College Park. I did stories on preserving the environment and history.
I contributed to stories yet to be published and some that landed on A1, from the Pepco buyout to a homicide case spanning decades and continents. And let’s not forget lots of snow stories.
Somebody told me recently that the best advice they ever got was to treat every story as the most important story ever assigned.
Each one of those stories, that day, was the most important story I had ever written. There’s something incredibly special about local reporting, writing about stories that matter intensely to your neighbors. To some of the people I interviewed, getting a call from The Washington Post was as much an honor as it was for me to say every day, “Hi, this is Zach Cohen from The Washington Post. How are you?”
Last Wednesday was my last day working at The Washington Post. To get to work feet away from some of the best journalists in the business was just an incredible honor and one I will always treasure.