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  • socdeansintern 12:52 pm on April 25, 2022 Permalink

    Telling Stories That Matter at Voice of America 

    By Dean’s Intern Joe Kelly at Voice of America

    Joe KellyA year of hard work and dedication is about to pay off.  My time at VOA has been one of the most memorable and rewarding experiences during my time at AU.  This June, the documentary I have been working on for the last six months will finally be released (stay tuned for the title).  It follows the Afghanistan National Institute of Music and their dramatic escape from the country following the Taliban’s takeover in August. I encourage anyone who is reading this to look into the life of Dr. Ahmad Sarmast, the man who founded the school. The heroism he has shown throughout his life is truly amazing.  More people should know about his work and how he saved the lives of 273 people last August .  Of course, he is a main character in our documentary so keep an eye out for that as well!  I can’t tell you how excited I am for people’s reaction to the film when it comes out.

    The research I have been doing has been extremely fascinating  and seeing it on the big screen will be a dream come true.  I will not lie, there have been times throughout the last year in which Beth, Katie, and I have had tremendous challenges getting everything in order for this documentary to be made.  That just makes it all the more rewarding to see the finished product.  When I see my name in the credits, I will take comfort in knowing I played a small role in something very important.

  • socdeansintern 1:41 pm on March 24, 2022 Permalink

    Documenting The Important Stories of Our Time 

    By Dean’s Intern Katy Grossman at Voice of America

    Katy GrossmanWe’re in production now at Voice of America on a documentary about a group of Afghan refugees who have resettled in Portugal. The journey has been incredible – they got out of Kabul with help from a huge community of people around the world, spent several weeks in Qatar as a transition point, and then flew to Portugal. We managed to get videographers to capture footage of them in all three cities – yes, even in the safehouse they were using in Kabul!  The moment we saw the plane land in Lisbon, we knew we had captured something incredible.

    Even though I’m just an intern, I have helped structure the film, draft the script, write interview questions, and create a shot list. It’s been an amazing experience to be involved in a project like this from the initial brainstorming process all the way to the edit.

  • socdeansintern 11:43 am on March 22, 2022 Permalink

    Diving Headfirst into the Public Media Beat 

    By Dean’s Intern Nina Heller at Current

    Nina HellerCovering public media may be niche, but it’s certainly never boring. Interning at Current this semester has taught me a lot about the dynamic world of public media. One of my favorite things about covering public media is getting to talk to people who work in public media, whether that is people involved with fundraising at local PBS and NPR stations or the journalists themselves. One of my favorite things I’ve worked on so far is my most recent article, where I wrote about how public media is using TikTok to connect with younger audiences and focus on local content. As an avid TikTok user myself, I had seen several news organizations on the platform and wondered how public media was utilizing the app. From there, I pitched the story to my editors, and then I interviewed the people creating TikTok content at three different public radio and TV stations and was fascinated by what they all had to say.

    Working at Current is so interesting because there are so many moving parts to the public media industry, and Current’s dedicated staff of journalists covers it expertly. Working at a place like Current has allowed me to fine-tune my reporting skills, learn about a fascinating industry and get to talk to the movers and shakers in a world that most of us might not be paying too much attention to otherwise. Plus, an article I wrote got to appear in Current’s annual print edition!

    You can read my articles here:

  • socdeansintern 11:39 am on March 22, 2022 Permalink

    Learning Search Engine Optimization and Paid Advertising at BluShark Digital 

    By Dean’s Intern Elizabeth Jahn at BluShark Digital

    Elizabeth JahnHave you ever wondered how Google search algorithms work? Since February 2021, I’ve had the amazing opportunity to learn how to market on today’s biggest search engine. As a Digital Marketing fellow at BluShark Digital, I’ve learned the principles of search engine optimization and the foundations of paid advertising.

    At BluShark Digital, every day is a new adventure, but it always starts with a team huddle and an iced matcha latte by my side. A typical fellow huddle consists of reporting on the status of our tasks and projects for the day, asking clarifying questions, and seeing how everyone’s weeks are going. When the Zoom call ends, fellows begin their day, writing blogs, fixing websites, curating client reports and social media calendars, conducting client interviews, and so much more.

    After a couple of months at BluShark, I was faced with exciting challenges. In an effort to support my growth and build my skills, my coworkers began sending me new research tasks and hands-on projects. These projects ranged from testing new ad copy to website audits to prepare for the latest Google search update. I even had the opportunity to model in a client photoshoot!

    Today, I am now on a team of two and my days are quite different. Our huddles are similar to the typical fellow huddle, but I get the opportunity to propose new ideas and my own smaller projects. I collaborate with my manager to improve client ad campaigns and learn how to analyze data to improve SEO strategy. I’m currently learning account management, campaign optimization, and running ad tests on new marketing platforms.

    Every week, I am taught something new and supported by my fellow sharks. I’m excited to continue to expand my paid, earned, and owned media skills as the semester continues. I am thankful to have been part of BluShark’s fellowship program and to continue to work with such a supportive group of people!





  • socdeansintern 12:53 pm on March 14, 2022 Permalink

    Covering the State of the Union and Much More for The Durango Herald 

    By Dean’s Intern Skye Witley at The Durango Herald

    SkyeWitleyAs President Joe Biden walked into the House chamber to deliver his first State of the Union address, I tuned out the applause and prepared to write. Sitting in the press gallery, I covered Biden’s speech as the congressional correspondent for The Durango Herald, racing to send in a comprehensive story by the deadline for next day’s print paper. The experience epitomized the mission of this internship: translating national conversations into timely stories that are relevant to the residents of Southwest Colorado. While hitting Biden’s main talking points, I also focused on policy priorities supported by the Colorado delegation, and I covered the moment Rep. Boebert disrupted Biden’s speech.

    As a reporter for The Durango Herald, I write about federal policy that affects Southwest Colorado and the movements of Rep. Lauren Boebert and Sens. Michael Bennet and John Hickenlooper. My days consist of attending congressional hearings, interviewing lawmakers and research. Lots of research. In the three short months I’ve worked there, I’ve learned many valuable lessons about congressional reporting, from how to establish relationships with press offices to simply navigating the halls of Congress (with no maps, it’s harder than it sounds). My editor, Shane Benjamin, has also been a crucial teacher.

    Writing for The Durango Herald has undeniably been the highlight of my undergraduate reporting career. The internship has bolstered my interest in pursuing congressional reporting as my career and lent me confidence in my abilities to report in the “real world.” I was also blessed with the opportunity to visit Durango and work in the paper’s newsroom, an affirming experience having spent the majority of my undergraduate career in virtual settings. I can’t wait to see who takes the reigns next, and I’ll be forever grateful that I got to round out my time at American University working with the small yet mighty Durango Herald.

  • socdeansintern 7:33 pm on November 28, 2021 Permalink

    Honing Reporting Skills on Difficult Topics 

    By Dean’s Intern Ben Morse at Current

    Ben MorsePitching a new story idea is always hard. It has to be timely, interesting, and relevant to the readership. Aside from writing pieces for my internship at, the hardest thing I do as an editorial intern is developing pitches that my editors will find pertinent. One story I successfully pitched to my editors was also the hardest story I’ve ever had to write.

    I read that the NPR podcast Embedded had sued Maryland for the right to play audio from the trial of the Capital Gazette mass shooter in their series on the tragedy and won. I didn’t know much about the subject, but it was an important story, so I decided to pitch it to my editors at Current, and they accepted it. The story was technically and emotionally difficult. I had to research Maryland law, read court documents and past precedents¾ which required learning how to use the byzantine court documents collection service PACER¾ interview the hosts of Embedded, interview legal experts, and talk to people who had worked for the Capital and who had been featured in the podcast. It was taxing to complete the piece, but looking at it now, it’s one of my best stories as a journalist.

    I am new to covering public media, Current’s main focus, but I have learned so much after two months in my internship. I have reported on stories about the live music show Mountain Stage in West Virginia and PBS NewsHour’s new Communities Initiative,  and interning at Current has helped me hone my reporting skills when covering difficult subjects that require lots of explanation and background information.  My internship at Current has given me an excellent opportunity to cover important stories, and it also helped me as a writer and aspiring journalist.

  • socdeansintern 7:32 pm on November 28, 2021 Permalink

    Learning How to Localize National Political News for SW Colorado 

    By Dean’s Intern Kelsey Carolan at The Durango Herald

    SouthWest ColoradoWalking through the small town of Durango, Colorado in September, I took in the sights and sounds of a city that seemed like a stereotypical Hollywood set of a western film. As someone who has grown up and went to college on the east coast, I was unfamiliar with the culture that I found in Southwest Colorado, along with the issues that people are concerned about. But while reporting on Congress for The Durango Herald, I’ve learned how to localize national political news and pitch stories about the issues that the people in Durango truly care about.

    As an intern at The Herald, I cover Colorado senators Michael Bennet and John Hickenlooper as well as Rep. Lauren Boebert, who represents a district in Southwest Colorado. Typically, I look at legislation they are sponsoring or were instrumental in passing and write about how it would affect people in Southwest Colorado. Much of my reporting has involved environmental legislation, since Colorado senators and representatives take the charge on those initiatives. I’ve been able to write about forest and watershed preservation

    and restoration, methane emissions and the Bureau of Land Management. This area of environmental reporting is a learning curve and something new for me, but I am glad to gain this knowledge through interviewing experts and local leaders.

    Visiting Durango was a highlight of my experience so far. It was great to go in a newsroom for the first time since the beginning of the pandemic and meet my colleagues face-to-face. While there, I was able to add to contribute to a breaking news story about moving the Bureau of Land Management’s headquarters back to D.C. from Colorado.

    This internship is a great experience to cap off my time at the School of Communication and at American University overall. It has allowed me to make use of the knowledge I gained as both a journalism and political science major, and it has furthered my skills in how to localize and find different story angles. The skills that prepared me for this are all thanks to the professors that have taught me and The Eagle, which has truly taught me all I know about reporting.

  • socdeansintern 7:28 pm on November 28, 2021 Permalink

    Producing A Documentary on Afghanistan’s First Female Orchestra 

    By Dean’s Intern Joseph Kelly at Voice of America

    Joe KellyWell the time had finally come…After around a dozen proposals, we have finally been approved for a new documentary at VOA.  And boy is it an interesting one.  Currently, I am assisting Beth in the early stages of producing a documentary about the Zohra Orchestra, Afghanistan’s first female orchestra.  We are going to tell their story, as well as the story of Dr. Ahmad Sarmast, the founder of the Afghanistan National Institute of Music.. He was injured several years ago in a Taliban attack at one of his concerts. Now with the Taliban back in power, many members of the orchestra are still trapped in the country under a regime that forbids music.  We are going to tell the story of the orchestra and what the tragic fall of Afghanistan means for its members, both those who have escaped and those who haven’t. To be involved in a film like this is truly amazing.  I was the first to contact Dr. Sarmast.  Being able to communicate with such an inspiring man is simply awesome. I am extremely excited to start the production process for the documentary.  I am in the process of getting my government clearance now, so I will have access to archival footage and documents that should be fascinating. I can’t wait to get to the meat of the project.

  • socdeansintern 7:09 pm on November 28, 2021 Permalink

    Producing Local Service Journalism at NBC4 

    By Dean’s Intern Skye Witley at NBC4 Washington

    SkyeWitleyI was only two weeks deep at my internship with NBC4 Washington when I was assigned a hefty task by my editor: scour the legislative information systems in DC, Maryland, and Virginia for any new laws that would take effect on October 1, 2021. I spent several days reading through countless laws, some fascinating and some dry, and translating the most newsworthy for NBC4 readers. This article marked a shift in my reporting focus at the station, as I began to cover more stories that aligned with their slogan of “working for you.”

    This fall, I’ve had the privilege of working as an intern on the digital desk of NBC’s local news station. In this role, I pitch and write daily stories for the station’s website, clip news packages from live broadcasts, and manage a host of other digital-related assignments. I’ve also had the opportunity to meet and learn from fascinating journalists like news director Michael Goldrick and investigative reporter Jodie Fleischer, who have shared valuable advice about entering the journalism field after graduation.

    I’ve enjoyed adapting to NBC4’s shorter and punchier writing style while producing a variety of coverage at the station, including entertainment and hard news articles. Since writing that October laws piece, I’ve helped readers stay informed on a number of issues including the Virginia elections and alternative transportation options amid Metrorail shortages. This style of “what you should know” reporting has influenced how I prioritize the audience’s needs in my writing at NBC4 and beyond. I’m excited to continue covering local news as I wrap up the last month of my internship and will continue to find opportunities for more service journalism.

    You can read my work here.

  • socdeansintern 12:32 pm on November 24, 2021 Permalink

    First Row Seat in Fast-Paced News 

    By Dean’s Intern Adriana Dora at Fox News Media

    Adriana DoriaMy time at FOX News Media, specifically with “Special Report with Bret Baier,” has been such an incredible experience!  As a College Associate for “Special Report,” I have been able to participate, first-hand, in the fast-paced news environment, while at the Washington DC Bureau.  I have been mentored and trained by current media professionals and also, had the chance to work on Election Day.  Each day starts with a team meeting wherein we discuss the news of the day and the rundown for the daily show.  I then take the daily stories for two specific segments, read and unpack them, and begin looking for voiceover (“VO”) footage.   From there, I take the footage and find the necessary elements to edit it to correspond with the script.  In addition to VO footage, I also create multiple digital elements, like chyrons and locators that are aired on live television based on the story. These responsibilities and more have challenged me to personalize content based on the current news headlines and to provide unique perspectives for further exploration.  The skills I have gained throughout this associate program have transferred seamlessly to scriptwriting, research, and understanding of broadcast media.   In addition to these skills, I have developed professionally by participating in daily pitch meetings with the production staff.

    While my time at this program is nearing its completion, I look forward to continuing learning more skills about the news industry.  I am honored to have been part of the College Associate Program for FOX News Media for a second semester.  It has further solidified my future career plans of becoming a national news broadcast journalist.



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