Learning the Investigative Ropes at Voice of America

By Dean’s Intern Katherine Long at Voice of America

KatherineLongIn January I began my internship at Voice of America, where I worked alongside the Investigative Unit team. For the next few months I spent my days gathering research, making pitches and joining in on occasional town hall meetings and tours.

The team stressed that it was important for me to pick a topic that was interesting and meaningful for me to research and write about. With their aid, I began writing a piece on student media censorship within universities and how our current political climate impacts the way student journalists are treated. I interviewed students from various college publications across the U.S. and conducted research on how student journalism has changed within the past five years. This also allowed me to work with editors and writers at the Press Freedom desk.

Outside of working on the article, I had the opportunity to attend town halls and other meetings where I got to watch writers and editors in their element. In one of my favorite meetings the investigative team showcased a new documentary series they worked on detailed three stories of individuals living in the U.S. through the J1-Visa, highlighting the pros and cons of the program. This was an exciting way to learn and understand how the investigative team conducts and executes their work.

While my time at Voice of America was cut short due to COVID-19, I feel lucky to have had the experience of working in a newsroom and getting an understanding of what real world reporting is like. I am continuing to write my article and am pushing through the challenges of writing and reporting online. Although it is unfortunate that my time at VOA came to a sudden halt, I am thankful for the experiences and lessons I learned throughout my time there. This being my first internship, I am excited for the opportunities to come and will take what I have learned and apply it to my future journalism work.