A Major Pivot while Interning at Voice of America

By Dean’s Intern Ashlyn Peter at Voice of America

Dean’s Intern Ashlyn PeterI never imagined that I would be completing my VOA internship from home in south Florida, but I think that this unexpected change has better prepared me for the turbulence of the journalism world that I’m going into. Journalists have to account for unforeseen developments in story production almost every day, and I feel like I’m now getting a crash course in what that’s like.

I worried that I’d have to terminate my internship after AU transferred online for the rest of the semester due to COVID-19: I contribute to the VOA Asia radio program as an interviewer and a commentator, but I didn’t have any audio equipment at home to do my work. Surprisingly, my boss wasn’t worried at all. She reminded me that every news station has had to adapt during this time, and people don’t mind a lack of professional sound quality so long as they get the information that is so vital right now. In fact, I think the lack of studio-grade production is actually a comfort to the public: things are messy at the moment, but the show is still going on.

VOA Asia has given me the freedom to chase my curiosity. As a Floridian, I wondered if the beach closures would positively impact water quality, so I’ve been interviewing environmental experts to explore that possibility. The team has encouraged me to present my findings on the radio, and I’m happy that I’ve gained experience in this medium. This wasn’t the semester I envisioned, but I feel lucky to help document such a unique time in our nation’s history.