Political Reporting for The Durango Herald

By Dean’s Intern Edward Graham at The Durango Herald

I found out about The Durango Herald’s Capitol Hill internship through one of my professors, and I immediately jumped at the opportunity. I’ve always enjoyed following national politics and writing about public policy, but I never experienced the on-the-ground realities of being a real political reporter until I started with the paper.

Reporting on location outside the U.S. Capitol

Reporting on location outside the U.S. Capitol

The internship program with the Herald is designed to fully immerse students into the reporting experience. I would even go so far as to say that it transcends a simple internship, in that the experience allows the “intern” to become a true Capitol Hill reporter. The Herald provided me with the necessary paperwork to get Senate press credentials, allowing me to gain access to the U.S. Capitol and to the representatives outside of their offices.

The highlight of my experience so far has been the all-expenses paid visit to The Durango Herald’s office in Colorado. I was able to fly out and visit with the paper’s staff, learn about issues pertinent to residents of southwestern Colorado, and then return to D.C. with a better understanding of coverage that’s relevant to the paper’s readers.

Over the last few weeks, I’ve had the chance to pursue many of my own article ideas that I pitched to the Herald. I’ve had the opportunity to meet with Capitol Hill staff, cover hearings and legislation, and write about the efforts of Colorado’s congressional delegation. I even contacted and visited with former Colorado U.S. Senator Wayne Allard to write about his post-Senate experience and what he thinks about the state of politics today.

In the span of several weeks I’ve already accrued a number of bylined articles that run the gamut from education to public lands and banking reform. I’ve also started working on longer-term ideas, tracking ongoing legislation and following the work of the Colorado delegation to identify potential article ideas.

The internship experience has also helped me to write under a deadline, narrow the focus of national issues, and to better understand and follow the debates surrounding legislation.

The Durango Herald treats the Capitol Hill intern as a true member of the reporting team, and the experience so far has been nothing but positive. It’s allowed me to continue growing as a reporter, instilled more confidence in my reporting abilities, and given me the chance to cover substantive issues for a specific and localized audience. It’s a position that requires on-the-job learning, and I’m excited about the chance to further learn the ins and outs of political reporting.