Light semester? Yeah right. Democracy in action.

David at USA Today

By Dean’s Intern David Lim at USA Today

Spring semester of my sophomore year at American University when I signed up for classes I figured that my fall semester was looking to be fairly easy and I would have ample free time. After a year where I took on econometrics, the intermediate level of economics and accounting, I thought a semester of communication classes more suited to my interests would be a great way to start the second half of my college career. During the past summer, I had the opportunity to intern for Bloomberg BNA, which I found through the help of an American University professor, and I took a job as a Resident Assistant on campus as a way to give back to the community and hopefully shape it for the better. I had two days without class planned, and things were looking quite nice.

How quickly things change.

Mark Lieberman, the Dean’s intern for USA Today during the summer and a good friend, let some us at The Eagle that USA Today was looking for an intern to help with the midterm elections. The posting said would last for 15 hours per week; conveniently, just under the amount of outside hours I could take as an RA. I sent in my resume and was invited for an interview, at which point a recommendation from my boss at BNA helped secure the position for the fall.

There went my free time.

I couldn’t be happier though: being in the middle of the newsroom at USA Today has been an education in and of itself watching stories such as the Ebola virus, Roger Goodell’s press conference and other national news break in real time. At the same time, working on the back-end to help plan for election night has kept me busy learning about all the Senate and governors races. In addition, I helped pick out the ballot issues that USA Today will be tracking on election night. My time working at USA Today has shown me the challenges that journalists face every day producing one of the most widely read publications in the United States.

As November 4 draws closer, I know that I’ll be ever more busy, but I love it. Seeing news develop in real time and working to cover the heart of our democracy in action is an opportunity that I am very grateful for. Keep an eye out for my work when election results start to roll in, I’ll be in the office late into the early morning looking at how people voted across the country. From minimum wage proposals to control of the senate, this year’s midterm elections may not have a president attracting people to vote, but it will have a heavy impact on our country. That is democracy at work.