AU Dean’s Intern Dives Into World of Public Media

Henry at Current.Org

By Dean’s Intern Henry Schneider at Current.Org

A recent American University graduate is taking on the challenge of becoming an expert on public media and reporting on its daily happenings as part of the AU School of Communication Dean’s Internship program.

Henry Schneider, a 2015 graduate who majored in political science and minored in communication, has tackled many responsibilities as an editorial intern at Current, a print and online journal for people in public media.

In just over a month on the job, Schneider has covered stories across the country, spanning places such as Alaska, Vermont, Florida, North Carolina and New Jersey. His primary focus is on state funding for public media, but he also writes regularly about technology, station policy and public media awards.

“From day one I’ve been treated like any other member of the editorial staff,” said Schneider, whose first story was published on his second day of work. “Even though I’m still technically an intern, I’m doing the work of a real reporter.”

Internship highlights have included sharing a page with This American Life host and well-known public media figure Ira Glass, who wrote a commentary for Current, and writing a story that appeared on the paper’s front page.

“It can be hard work,” Schneider said. “But to see that people are interested in and engaged with what I’m reporting on is incredibly gratifying.”

Schneider has completed seven stories, has two more he is currently writing and has at least three others he is in the process of researching. The biggest annual public media conference is also on the horizon next month.

Current has been having a record-breaking summer since Schneider began, experiencing its highest monthly levels of online readership in consecutive months for May and June.

“While I can’t take full credit for the spike in readership, or really any credit at all, I’m thrilled that it’s coincided with the start of my internship,” Schneider said.

Current’s editors had kind words for Schneider, whose post-internship plans remain up in the air.

“Henry is really dragging down the entire office,” digital editor Mike Janssen joked [ed note.: Hopefully.], before ultimately praising the young intern. “Henry’s strong writing skills and dedication to getting the facts have really helped us add to our coverage and better serve readers.”

“Henry livens up our meetings by asking lots of good questions, and he’s really diligent and accurate in his reporting,” added managing editor Karen Everhart. “He’s very engaged in every aspect of the editorial process and is producing valuable coverage for us.”

Schneider says his favorite story thus far is one he wrote about a new online tool developed by the popular independent radio station WFMU. The article is of particular importance for Current readers figuring out how to grow public media’s audience and make it financially sustainable.

In reporting on such stories, Schneider has further developed skills talking to sources, using digital tools such as WordPress, drafting tweets and Facebook posts to attract readers to stories and writing like a professional journalist.

“The only thing that would enhance Henry’s reputation is if he proves that he can bake as well as Sean Meehan, our intern last summer, or Senior Editor Dru Sefton, who makes some killer brownies,” Everhart said.

Schneider declined to respond to Everhart’s comments, but sources confirm that his baking skills are “subpar.”