Explaining the News at Vox

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By Dean’s Intern Lindsay Maizland at Vox

I’m not going to lie: working with Vox.com’s foreign team can be pretty intimidating.

On the morning of my second day, my editor hosted our team at his home for a meeting focused on setting this year’s goals. The conversations moved seamlessly from my editor talking about his struggles of finding dog sitters while he was reporting for months in the Middle East to the group questioning the value of realism and other big ideas that drive U.S. foreign policy.

It didn’t take long to realize that the five journalists sitting on couches next to me were, and are, brilliant. Maybe I’m just fangirling, but they have read every relevant book, have connections with all the right experts and people in power, and have written articles that masterfully make sense of this world. I wondered, “How can I offer anything useful to this team? I haven’t read those books. I don’t have many connections. I haven’t written articles like that.”

But as I’ve gotten more comfortable at Vox, I’ve realized that I actually do have something unique to offer. This hit me last week when my editor asked me to cover the latest North Korean scandal, the murder of Kim Jong Nam. I explained what happened and attempted to answer a few big questions about the bizarre event. It was the longest article I’ve written for Vox so far and required the most research and thought – definitely hard work.

But my experiences studying East Asia as a part of my international studies major, attending panels on campus with North Korea experts and traveling along the Chinese-North Korean border during high school all helped me conceptualize the article. The day after it was published, I saw that it was ranked #10 on Vox’s “Top 100” list.

Now, I’m learning how to emphasize my strengths and areas of expertise in the ideas I pitch to my editor every morning. I’m also learning how to spend less time doubting myself and more time simply being confident. Working as an intern doesn’t have to be intimidating.