Public Media’s Role During a Pandemic and Social Justice Unrest

By Dean’s Intern Sasha Fernandez at Current

Sasha FernandezHello! My name is Sasha Fernandez and I am one of two editorial interns at Current. While I started my position in the midst of the pandemic, working remotely at this publication has been an amazing opportunity and has trained me in professional reporting. As part of my role, I am responsible for pitching my own stories, doing independent research, conducting interviews, and writing articles. Since I joined Current in May, I have written fifteen stories!

While at Current, I’ve had the pleasure of interviewing hosts that I’ve listened to for several years including NPR’s Rachel Martin and In the Dark’s Madeleine Baran. I have also learned more about policy within public media including how reporters are protected in the field while covering riots and how stations write rules related to social media use for their employees.

I even got to work on an enterprise story about a radio station that had an issue with retaining women of color on their staff and the editor allegedly responsible for perpetuating an abusive work culture. While my time at Current has included some difficult stories related to harassment in the workplace that I had to handle with care, I have also pursued more lighthearted subjects.

One time, I interviewed James Beard award-winning Chef Lidia Bastianich about an at-home cooking program she initiated for PBS. I had never heard of her before, and I was very nervous about speaking with someone as accomplished as her. My nerves were swept aside as she was kind, forthcoming, and enthusiastic about sharing her life story with me. I was then able to write a story about her fairly easily.

Later, after the story was published, I went to my local grocery store to pick up some pizza fixings when I saw Chef Bastianich’s face on a bunch of jars of Italian sauce! I was totally gobsmacked. While the experience at the grocery store was completely surreal, it made me grateful that I got to speak to her and that my editor at Current trusted me to thoughtfully write that story.