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  • socdeansintern 7:33 pm on November 28, 2021 Permalink  

    Honing Reporting Skills on Difficult Topics 

    By Dean’s Intern Ben Morse at Current

    Ben MorsePitching a new story idea is always hard. It has to be timely, interesting, and relevant to the readership. Aside from writing pieces for my internship at Current.org, the hardest thing I do as an editorial intern is developing pitches that my editors will find pertinent. One story I successfully pitched to my editors was also the hardest story I’ve ever had to write.

    I read that the NPR podcast Embedded had sued Maryland for the right to play audio from the trial of the Capital Gazette mass shooter in their series on the tragedy and won. I didn’t know much about the subject, but it was an important story, so I decided to pitch it to my editors at Current, and they accepted it. The story was technically and emotionally difficult. I had to research Maryland law, read court documents and past precedents¾ which required learning how to use the byzantine court documents collection service PACER¾ interview the hosts of Embedded, interview legal experts, and talk to people who had worked for the Capital and who had been featured in the podcast. It was taxing to complete the piece, but looking at it now, it’s one of my best stories as a journalist.

    I am new to covering public media, Current’s main focus, but I have learned so much after two months in my internship. I have reported on stories about the live music show Mountain Stage in West Virginia and PBS NewsHour’s new Communities Initiative,  and interning at Current has helped me hone my reporting skills when covering difficult subjects that require lots of explanation and background information.  My internship at Current has given me an excellent opportunity to cover important stories, and it also helped me as a writer and aspiring journalist.

  • socdeansintern 7:32 pm on November 28, 2021 Permalink  

    Learning How to Localize National Political News for SW Colorado 

    By Dean’s Intern Kelsey Carolan at The Durango Herald

    SouthWest ColoradoWalking through the small town of Durango, Colorado in September, I took in the sights and sounds of a city that seemed like a stereotypical Hollywood set of a western film. As someone who has grown up and went to college on the east coast, I was unfamiliar with the culture that I found in Southwest Colorado, along with the issues that people are concerned about. But while reporting on Congress for The Durango Herald, I’ve learned how to localize national political news and pitch stories about the issues that the people in Durango truly care about.

    As an intern at The Herald, I cover Colorado senators Michael Bennet and John Hickenlooper as well as Rep. Lauren Boebert, who represents a district in Southwest Colorado. Typically, I look at legislation they are sponsoring or were instrumental in passing and write about how it would affect people in Southwest Colorado. Much of my reporting has involved environmental legislation, since Colorado senators and representatives take the charge on those initiatives. I’ve been able to write about forest and watershed preservation

    and restoration, methane emissions and the Bureau of Land Management. This area of environmental reporting is a learning curve and something new for me, but I am glad to gain this knowledge through interviewing experts and local leaders.

    Visiting Durango was a highlight of my experience so far. It was great to go in a newsroom for the first time since the beginning of the pandemic and meet my colleagues face-to-face. While there, I was able to add to contribute to a breaking news story about moving the Bureau of Land Management’s headquarters back to D.C. from Colorado.

    This internship is a great experience to cap off my time at the School of Communication and at American University overall. It has allowed me to make use of the knowledge I gained as both a journalism and political science major, and it has furthered my skills in how to localize and find different story angles. The skills that prepared me for this are all thanks to the professors that have taught me and The Eagle, which has truly taught me all I know about reporting.

  • socdeansintern 7:28 pm on November 28, 2021 Permalink  

    Producing A Documentary on Afghanistan’s First Female Orchestra 

    By Dean’s Intern Joseph Kelly at Voice of America

    Joe KellyWell the time had finally come…After around a dozen proposals, we have finally been approved for a new documentary at VOA.  And boy is it an interesting one.  Currently, I am assisting Beth in the early stages of producing a documentary about the Zohra Orchestra, Afghanistan’s first female orchestra.  We are going to tell their story, as well as the story of Dr. Ahmad Sarmast, the founder of the Afghanistan National Institute of Music.. He was injured several years ago in a Taliban attack at one of his concerts. Now with the Taliban back in power, many members of the orchestra are still trapped in the country under a regime that forbids music.  We are going to tell the story of the orchestra and what the tragic fall of Afghanistan means for its members, both those who have escaped and those who haven’t. To be involved in a film like this is truly amazing.  I was the first to contact Dr. Sarmast.  Being able to communicate with such an inspiring man is simply awesome. I am extremely excited to start the production process for the documentary.  I am in the process of getting my government clearance now, so I will have access to archival footage and documents that should be fascinating. I can’t wait to get to the meat of the project.

  • socdeansintern 7:09 pm on November 28, 2021 Permalink  

    Producing Local Service Journalism at NBC4 

    By Dean’s Intern Skye Witley at NBC4 Washington

    SkyeWitleyI was only two weeks deep at my internship with NBC4 Washington when I was assigned a hefty task by my editor: scour the legislative information systems in DC, Maryland, and Virginia for any new laws that would take effect on October 1, 2021. I spent several days reading through countless laws, some fascinating and some dry, and translating the most newsworthy for NBC4 readers. This article marked a shift in my reporting focus at the station, as I began to cover more stories that aligned with their slogan of “working for you.”

    This fall, I’ve had the privilege of working as an intern on the digital desk of NBC’s local news station. In this role, I pitch and write daily stories for the station’s website, clip news packages from live broadcasts, and manage a host of other digital-related assignments. I’ve also had the opportunity to meet and learn from fascinating journalists like news director Michael Goldrick and investigative reporter Jodie Fleischer, who have shared valuable advice about entering the journalism field after graduation.

    I’ve enjoyed adapting to NBC4’s shorter and punchier writing style while producing a variety of coverage at the station, including entertainment and hard news articles. Since writing that October laws piece, I’ve helped readers stay informed on a number of issues including the Virginia elections and alternative transportation options amid Metrorail shortages. This style of “what you should know” reporting has influenced how I prioritize the audience’s needs in my writing at NBC4 and beyond. I’m excited to continue covering local news as I wrap up the last month of my internship and will continue to find opportunities for more service journalism.

    You can read my work here.

  • socdeansintern 12:32 pm on November 24, 2021 Permalink  

    First Row Seat in Fast-Paced News 

    By Dean’s Intern Adriana Dora at Fox News Media

    Adriana DoriaMy time at FOX News Media, specifically with “Special Report with Bret Baier,” has been such an incredible experience!  As a College Associate for “Special Report,” I have been able to participate, first-hand, in the fast-paced news environment, while at the Washington DC Bureau.  I have been mentored and trained by current media professionals and also, had the chance to work on Election Day.  Each day starts with a team meeting wherein we discuss the news of the day and the rundown for the daily show.  I then take the daily stories for two specific segments, read and unpack them, and begin looking for voiceover (“VO”) footage.   From there, I take the footage and find the necessary elements to edit it to correspond with the script.  In addition to VO footage, I also create multiple digital elements, like chyrons and locators that are aired on live television based on the story. These responsibilities and more have challenged me to personalize content based on the current news headlines and to provide unique perspectives for further exploration.  The skills I have gained throughout this associate program have transferred seamlessly to scriptwriting, research, and understanding of broadcast media.   In addition to these skills, I have developed professionally by participating in daily pitch meetings with the production staff.

    While my time at this program is nearing its completion, I look forward to continuing learning more skills about the news industry.  I am honored to have been part of the College Associate Program for FOX News Media for a second semester.  It has further solidified my future career plans of becoming a national news broadcast journalist.



  • socdeansintern 12:25 pm on November 24, 2021 Permalink  

    The Intersection of Business and Politics at FBN 

    By Dean’s Intern Olivia Tinari at Fox Business Network
    Olivia TinariThis past semester, I had the opportunity to work again with the Fox Business Network at their Washington D.C. Bureau on the Assignment Desk. I was honored to be selected again to return to the Fox Business Network as a College Associate after completing a summer internship with both the New York and D.C. Bureaus.

    Over the course of the internship, I had the opportunity to once again delve into the business broadcast industry and gain practical experience while interning for one of the largest media and entertainment companies in the world. I was mainly involved in covering the intersection of business and politics. This included important and impactful happenings both on the Hill and at the White House. In particular, I was able to provide support and research for reporting on the newly passed Infrastructure Bill, the COP26 conference in Glasgow and the G20 conference in Rome.

    Between pitching news stories and providing research, I had the opportunity to work more on the production side this Fall. I was able to log video elements to watch video footage and label content accordingly. I would then plug-in video elements in the iNews rundown using Dalet. I also had the opportunity to assist reporters, producers and editors on news and editorial decisions. The most interesting part of the program was shadowing different editors, producers and reporters on assignment. This gave me the best vision of what it is really like to work at a major news agency.

    The FOX internship program as a whole continued to focus on a variety of professional development opportunities. I attended several enriching panels from the sports broadcast industry to the news industry – geared to advancing my knowledge of the industry.

    As a key member contributing to the FBN Assignment Desk at the D.C. Bureau, I gained invaluable experience as a working journalist. I am so grateful to the FOX family for giving me the opportunity to work two internships with the expectation of returning, yet again, in January 2022. As a graduating senior in May, I will continue to apply the knowledge I gained at FBN to my impending graduate studies and to my future work in the broadcast news industry.

  • socdeansintern 3:03 pm on October 29, 2021 Permalink  

    Promoting the News at MSNBC 

    By Dean’s Intern Schanelle Marie Saldanha at MSNBC

    Schanelle on computer

    Over the past semester, I’ve had the incredible opportunity to serve as a Media Relations Intern with MSNBC. Getting the chance to work with one of the country’s largest news and media organizations has been nothing short of a

    n enriching experience.

    As a media relations intern, I work with the MSNBC PR team, which essentially helps promote the news. My day typically begins by monitoring any media hits about the network, talent, and shows to send to the PR team. Because the news industry is so unpredictable and fast-paced, the rest of my day varies drastically. At any given hour, I can be found transcribing press events, building reporter lists, sending out pitches, drafting press releases, and helping the team in whatever way I can. More recently, I’ve gotten the chance to do some preparation press work for the upcoming coverage of the Virginia and New Jersey Gubernatorial Elections, including compiling candidate research and previous media coverage from competing networks. Being able to learn the intricacies of news promotion in real-time has been incredibly insightful.

    Overall, I’m so grateful for the chance to be interning with MSNBC. Working with such a collaborative and experienced team has allowed me to delve further into my passion for public communications, research, and the news. As a senior getting ready to wrap up my time in SOC, I couldn’t think of a more immersive opportunity in the field of news and media.

  • socdeansintern 9:32 am on October 25, 2021 Permalink  

    Learning from Day One: My Internship at Current 

    By Dean’s Intern Gabe Ferris at Current

    Gabe Ferris

    This fall, I have been enjoying my internship with Current.org. We report on public and noncommercial media, like PBS, NPR, their affiliates, and community radio and television stations throughout the country. And as an editorial intern, it has been my job to learn as much about the industry as possible so that I can report onstories like Current’s full-time reporters do.

    That learning started on my first day. I was quickly assigned a story about a grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting enabling 14 stations to combat COVID-19 misinformation and vaccine hesitancy in their markets. That was an insightful first assignment, as I had to learn about public media funding. I also had to identify the stations that wereusing the funds in creative ways, so I could contact them to secure interviews. Within a few days, I was on the phone with a handful of station executives who were eager to tell me about their plans to use the money. I am proud to say that that story –– and my second one –– made it into our September/October print edition.

    My SOC Dean’s internship at Current has been all I wanted and more. I have gained bylines and much experience that comes with reporting. I am fortunate to have the best editors: their commitment to public media is inspiring, and they make sure every mistake I make is an opportunity to learn and grow.

    You can read my work by visiting https://current.org/author/gabe-ferris/.

  • socdeansintern 11:00 am on September 2, 2021 Permalink  

    All Hands on Deck at NBC4 

    By Dean’s Intern Sophia Solano at NBC4

    Sophia SolanoThis summer, I’ve had the privilege of interning with the NBC4 Washington digital team. I’ve wanted to be a reporter for as long as I can remember, but this internship has shown me just how many other important, fast-paced, and fun jobs there are all across the newsroom — and on the digital team, I got to do a bit of everything.

    On any given day, I’ll sit down at my desk and watch the hours fly by as I pitch and report original stories about the unique going-ons in our flourishing city. As soon as the afternoon news shows start airing, it’s all hands on deck; whether its clipping news stories into videos to put on the website, recording breaking news, or rewriting reporter’s stories to flow in a digital format, knowing I’m contributing essential information to the DMV community is always gratifying.

    When they’re able to step away from the hustle and bustle of the TV newsroom, the staff is kind enough to spend time talking with us interns about their careers. I’ve gotten to know some of the most incredible people, including producers, reporters, and members of the investigative team. They’ve shown me that each role is essential to a functioning newsroom — and just how important and fulfilling these roles can be. It’s so exciting to see all the different paths open to young reporters.

    Though my time at News4 is nearing its end, the skills and relationships I’ve developed this summer have been essential to my growth as a journalist. I’ve learned that local news is critical to build an informed and connected community, and I’m eager to continue my career in local journalism!

  • socdeansintern 10:56 am on September 2, 2021 Permalink  

    Traversing the Inevitable Bumps in the Road 

    By Dean’s Intern Katy Grossman at Voice of America

    Katy GrossmanMy internship with Voice of America’s documentary department began during a transitional period: the Senior Executive Producer with whom I am working released her most recent film earlier this year, and much of our time in the beginning of the Summer was spent brainstorming documentary ideas and holding informational interviews with possible subjects. Some of those interviews went more smoothly than others; this is a story about the latter.

    As a government agency, some of VOA’s programming is inspired by the current administration’s focus and pet projects. In this case, we were asked to look into possible documentaries about climate change and specifically climate refugees, using a character-driven approach that would use an activist as the main focal point for the piece. Through our research, we discovered an activist that we thought could be interesting: a Chinese teenager who had been arrested and kicked out of school for her protests outside her local municipal building. We learned that she was currently in Berlin, which would make her much easier to film than if she were in China, and set out to try and talk to her.

    I sent her a private message through Twitter, and we exchanged numbers on an encrypted messaging app. This is where everything went downhill. Keep in mind that she is six hours ahead of us.


    Me: Hi, this is Katy Grossman – I sent you a message on Twitter about a potential climate change documentary. Would you be available for a call today?


    Her: Yes, is it possible to have a call with you tomorrow at 1:30pm GMT+2?

    Note – the time she offered at 9pm would be 7:30am EST the next morning. My boss was not inclined to accept.


    Me: Would you be able to do 4pm your time? Otherwise, we could potentially do 1:30/2 on a different day.

    The only response I received was a thumbs down reaction an hour later. Is this normal Zoomer communication or something more? As a 30-year-old, I wasn’t sure.

    So began several weeks of phone tag across the Atlantic. We did eventually manage to get her on the phone at a more reasonable time, although she showed up for the 8am phone call at 9:00. After talking for some time and sending her more information about our project, we planned another call for the following day. Unfortunately, we never got her on the phone again. After another week and a half of planning a call and then getting no answer, we decided to pivot our focus to other projects with more responsive people.

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