Developing a Wider View of Journalism
Dean’s Intern Iulia Gheorghiu at Current.org.
When you’re a students, what you do best is study. And you are working toward a degree in a field that you hope to love, but it’s easy to lose perspective of what that major means, exactly. For me, print journalism came down to writing. It’s silly to think that I had trivialized it to such an extent, but that’s all that I knew about it.
As a writer, my mind is filled with deadlines, associated press style guides, and the words that sort of rattle around in my head after interviewing someone.
Writing for Current has been very fulfilling because it helped me organize myself as a reporter and it made me pay attention to the part beyond the writing and editing in a newspaper.
Current is a biweekly newspaper on all things public media. If you are working in public radio or broadcasting, you are probably subscribing to them. Current is part of American University and you may get to see their front page displayed in the new McKinley building! The entire staff is pretty small – you learn everyone’s name within the first 15 minutes.
I got to have a byline (which is very exciting in itself), but the best part came from speaking to my editor, Karen, to really understand how a newspaper operates. Before this, I think I took the business side of newspapers for granted. It’s because the operation seems so overwhelmingly big to look into it (even with fewer staff and writers).
Then, I got to be a part of editorial meetings at the start of each publication period. I would hear the experienced writers flesh out the stories they were pursuing for Karen to approve and I would get to tell them about what I was working on as well. I helped create the 2014 media kit for advertisers. And I had the opportunity to talk with consultants from Coats2Coats after their in-depth evaluation of Current’s operations.
The consulting group drafted a proposal to increase Current’s efficiency and reach. Their recommendations for implementation take place over 100 days, starting January 2014. And they proposed changes about everything: from cloud-based sharing suggestions, to staffing and hiring, to staggering deadlines.
Normally, the editor would receive the proposal and then pass it down to the rest of the staff. I got to be in the thick of it all!
This wasn’t just journalism. This was a business that I had failed to really consider. I was able to understand and learn about Current these past few months, so I could really appreciate the detail of the analysis given by the consultants. I don’t honestly know how I could find another such experience without becoming editor of a production.
Working with a smaller newspaper got me a lot of attention from my editor to improve my writing and it really allowed me to peek behind the curtain of the business of newspapers.
Because of my opportunity to be a Dean’s Intern, I had a Jimmy-Neutron-style brain blast! I gained more depth and perspective into what my major meant and what print journalism really was. And I loved it!