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  • socdeansintern 2:12 pm on February 24, 2021 Permalink  

    Exploring New Documentary Topics at VOA 

    By Dean’s Intern Vanessa Montalbano at Voice of America

    Vanessa MontalbanoAs a returning intern to the Documentary and Special Projects Unit at Voice of America, I jumped right back into my position. Since day one, my supervisor, Beth Mendelson, and I have been juggling multiple tasks. She and I work together dynamically at a one-on-one level, so I have had the unique opportunity to learn the ropes of being an effective producer and director firsthand. What I particularly like about this internship is that I am learning the behind the scenes inner-workings of this job that I likely wouldn’t have learned in the classroom. A lot more goes into making a documentary than just telling a really great story—though that is a critical part.

    Most of my work thus far has been research-oriented, as we are exploring new film ideas. Once we pick a potential topic, we brainstorm different angles and write up a film proposal based on what we found to be the most interesting. Right now we have around four possible documentary topics which we are planning to develop before sending them off for pre-production approval. This, in particular, has been a really fulfilling experience for me because I am able to see the research that I have done come to fruition, as it is certainly driving forward the process of creating a complete film treatment. In addition to this, my supervisor and I also are working on the final touches of the documentary the unit and I made last year called Turkey: Breaking the Silence, which was officially released in January. We have been coordinating with the public relations office at VOA to set up broadcast or panel events to share it with a broader audience. This is an especially big deal for me because my supervisor surprised me by including my name in the credits of the Turkey film. As a young journalist, seeing my name listed there for the first time was incredibly fulfilling! That said, I cannot wait to begin writing a new documentary and see what more we can achieve!

  • socdeansintern 10:40 am on December 14, 2020 Permalink  

    Learning to Localize for the Durango Herald 

    By Dean’s Intern Jack Purcell at The Durango Herald

    Jack Purcell

    Jack at the Durango headquarters in Colorado

    As a student in D.C., I’ve grown accustomed to thinking big; life in the nation’s capital has made it so that much of my experience reporting has been focused in one way or another on the national level. This changed when I joined The Durango Herald as an intern this semester. I was still in D.C., but my work was no longer being read by hyperpolitical Washington residents; I was writing for an outdoorsy town of around 20,000 people nestled deep in Southwestern Colorado.

    For the Herald, I learned to stop thinking like one of the countless reporters on the Hill and throughout D.C. that are looking to jump on national stories as soon as they happen. Instead, as a reporter for a local paper who happens to be in Washington, I approach every story with a question: why does this matter to Colorado and to Durango?

    With this question in mind, this internship has given me the opportunity to cover everything from the election to local energy grid changes, combining the unique position of being in D.C. with a local mindset that I’ve developed by speaking to and connecting with business owners and local officials from Durango and other parts of Colorado. Local reporting has some departures from what I’ve grown used to as an SOC student but I think that the work of local newspapers is incredibly important and I’m grateful to have the opportunity to count myself among them.

    Here is a link to the page of the Herald’s website where my writing is collected: https://durangoherald.com/staff/21691-john-purcell

  • socdeansintern 9:09 am on November 16, 2020 Permalink  

    Journalism’s Impact on Democracy 

    By Dean’s Intern McKenzie Beard at Voice of America

    McKenzie BeardOver the course of the fall semester, I have had the opportunity to work as a reporter for the Voice of America News Center. 2020 has shown that journalism is a critical part of maintaining democracy and a healthy, well informed society.

    Prior to joining Voice of America, I had participated in an internship with a community radio station in my hometown that I feel prepared me for this next step up in the world of journalism. Being an active member of student media as well gave me the tools to succeed in a fast paced and collaborative newsroom environment.

    While my internship has been remote due to the coronavirus pandemic, my supervisors at Voice of America have consistently made me feel like an important member of their newsroom. I have had the wonderful opportunity to write for both and internal news wire within the organization in addition to researching and writing stories for the Voice of America website. As I’ve grown as a reporter during my time with VoA, I’ve found that direct guidance from experienced reporters and editors has strengthened my skillset as a journalist tenfold. Moreover, because this internship has been hosted online, I’ve been able to learn how to navigate working both independently and with a team remotely.

    I’m thrilled that Voice of America continued to host their internship program remotely during the fall 2020 semester, and hope that this impeccable team continues to produce strong stories with the help of AU students for years to come.”

    In addition, here is a link to my portfolio where you can find some of the work I’ve done so far for VoA: https://mckenziebeard.journoportfolio.com/feature-articles/

  • socdeansintern 3:54 pm on November 10, 2020 Permalink  

    Honing News Instincts at Voice of America 

    By Dean’s Intern Hannah Shows at Voice of America

    Hannah Shows I applied for the Voice of America (VOA) internship without knowing I would be summarizing the top news stories from around the globe while sipping my favorite morning beverages and watching the sunrise through my home window every morning.

    Clocking in by 7:30 am, I scour incoming video feeds from various news outlets and summarize headlines to include in my final reporting package: a sixty second video newsreel recapping the top stories in different regions of the world (sometimes, the whole world). By 11 am I have the newsreel published on social media and shared with VOA’s partners. Then, I wash, rinse and repeat every Monday and Friday.

    Working for VOA, I’ve strengthened my news instinct and gained confidence in my ability to work quickly and accurately. The internship has taught me to pay attention to detail (those important, if pesky, broadcast permissions and news credits must be accounted for!) while keeping in mind the bigger picture.

    Within my first two weeks at VOA, I recapped the first presidential debate and subsequent town halls. I learned to summarize, with balance and clarity, these key campaign events — a skill useful to any hopeful politics reporter.

    To be best prepared for this internship, I keep a healthy schedule (getting a full eight hours of sleep) and implement an early morning routine. My internship with VOA structures my mornings as a springboard for a productive and fulfilling day. I am grateful for this opportunity during the coronavirus pandemic.

    Links to work:




  • socdeansintern 4:01 pm on October 28, 2020 Permalink  

    The World of Digital Political Communication During a Virtual Election Season 

    By Dean’s Intern Lizzy Tarallo at EMILY’s List

    Lizzy TaralloEvery day is a new adventure during my internship with EMILY’s List. As someone who is so passionate about electing Democratic women up and down the ticket, I feel honored to be working with the nation’s largest resource for women in politics during this crucial election year.

    Our main goals for this election are to elect women who will flip the Senate, elect women to the House who will maintain the Democratic majority, and to have the first-ever woman vice president, Sen. Kamala Harris, elected to office. As a Digital Intern, my days at EMILY’s List are packed with drafting social media content for an audience of over 130,000 Instagram followers and 170,000 Twitter followers. I also draft and help send out text messages for our robust texting program, which helps us to fundraise and engage with our members. I am also part of the Results Team. This means I will be working all day on Election Day and the week after to help send texts to thousands of subscribers who want to hear results about the local, state, and federal elections they care about.

    Even though everything is virtual due to the coronavirus, I am still able to attend Q&A sessions and trainings with EMILY’s List staff members. I was able to ask a question to the president of EMILY’s List, Stephanie Schriock, and she gave me some great advice for my future. I have also learned a lot about political campaigns and how large political action committees operate.

    I have loved every moment of my internship so far. It’s so rewarding to spend time drafting content and know that so many people are going to see it. I’m definitely getting a lot of preparation for a career in digital political communications. I can’t wait to see all of our hard work pay off when women across the country win their races!

  • socdeansintern 8:36 pm on October 8, 2020 Permalink  

    From My Home To Yours 

    By Dean’s Intern Katie Kolczun at Smithsonian Associates

    Katie KolczunThis semester I’m working as the Social Media Intern for the Smithsonian Associates. It has been such an incredible experience to engage with a large audience and to be a part of such a fantastic institution. It has also been interesting to work for the Smithsonian Associates during their switch to virtual programming. It’s been really incredible to see this shift, as not only do we get to engage with the D.C. community, but now the programming is easily accessible nationally and even globally which has created a much larger audience. I have always been a big advocate for education and the arts, so it’s fantastic to be helping bring a bit of creativity and learning straight into the homes of people who may have never had the opportunity to visit D.C.

    My day primarily consists of drafting posts for social media and posting event listings. I also do research about programs and upcoming guests, finding other complimenting works that might be appealing to audiences. I have some prior experience in public relations working with social media, but it’s always a fun challenge to adapt and gain an understanding of a company’s public voice.

    Although my internship has been remote, I still have been able to connect and reach out to other colleagues to learn about their experience and ask their advice. I have really been able to dive deeper in learning about public relations and marketing, but I have also gotten to learn about other fields of interest and make new connections which has been extremely helpful in furthering my professional development.

    To see what I help work on throughout the semester follow the Smithsonian Associates on Twitter (@SmithsonianSA), Facebook and Instagram  (@smithsonianassociates).

  • socdeansintern 1:12 pm on October 8, 2020 Permalink  

    Aiding Policy-Relevant Reporting During COVID, 2020 Election and Social Unrest 

    By Dean’s Intern Kaela Roeder at The National Press Foundation

    GraceGeorgeSince August, I have been working as an intern at the National Press Foundation, and assisting the team in “making good journalists better,” while also bettering my own understanding of complex and relevant issues that are essential to report on in 2020.

    Amidst the coronavirus pandemic, the foundation has transitioned all of its normal training programs for journalists online, and is producing programming on important topics for journalists to report on such as poverty and inequality, national security and trade.

    I’ve had the opportunity to conduct research on the programs, write articles on the briefings and handle the foundation’s social media accounts. I recently wrote on the program “American’s Child Care System in Crisis,” which was a briefing focused on the lack of accessible childcare in the United States and the unsustainable system.

    Each day is quite different from the previous, which is to be expected from an organization focused on the news. But, an average day starts with checking Twitter and posting on the foundation’s social media accounts. From there, I search for recent work published by journalists who use our programs as a resource in reporting, research topics and resources to pair with the briefings and assist with administrative tasks to help the team.

    While I have never physically met the rest of the team at NPF in person or visited the office, I have learned a great deal on the importance of policy-relevant and comprehensive reporting. This internship has not only taught me skills in research and social media but also on the topics taught to journalists, like how to report on the upcoming election and technology. I look forward to taking both points of knowledge to future internships and in my career.

  • socdeansintern 1:09 pm on October 8, 2020 Permalink  

    Transitioning to Covering Public Media 

    By Dean’s Intern Spencer Nusbaum at Current

    Spencer NusbaumMy time with Current has been a masterclass in professional, on-the-clock reporting. Before starting at Current, I spent most of my time editing, pitching, and filing sports stories for The Eagle and High Post Hoops. I’ve been surprised by how seamless the transition was to covering public media. I’ve always found interest in the stories about people within the sports world. So my passion, learning and listening to people, hasn’t changed. The people have changed.

    I’ve spoken to some amazing reporters and producers at ‘Black in Appalachia’ and the ‘Every 30 Seconds’ project. I’ve got a project cooking now that involves lots of Excel work, and don’t want to give too much away on its contents. But working with data is something I’ve always loved doing, and Current has given me the guidance and support to work through a variety of projects and pitches.

    If anything, interning at Current has taught me how to look for every hole in a story. Let me tell you — if there is a fragment of a fact, an unanswered question, or an unnecessary sentence in my drafts — these editors will catch it. It’s made me a better interviewer, a better writer, and a better editor. Public media is one of the most important institutions in our country, and the Current works incredibly hard to make sure we are telling its stories, informing its employees, and holding it accountable when necessary. I’m happy to be part of the team.

  • socdeansintern 1:54 pm on October 6, 2020 Permalink  

    The Public Media Beat 

    By Dean’s Intern Grace George at Current

    Grace GeorgeMy internship with Current has been such a productive learning experience that has helped me become a better writer and reporter. I have been able to learn so much working in the public media beat. I have interviewed such interesting people, and I have been able to cover programming that serves a variety of communities. I have also had to adjust to working in the public media beat. While I still have much to learn, I have enjoyed immersing myself in this beat and keeping up to date on the news in public media. Even though I have only met them virtually, my editors and fellow writers at Current have been inviting and helpful while I have adjusted to my new role as editorial intern. I continue to learn at Current every day, and I am excited for the future stories and reporting I will do here.


  • socdeansintern 11:16 am on July 29, 2020 Permalink  

    News In the Time of Covid 

    By Dean’s Intern Kelsey Carolan at CBS This Morning

    Kelsey Caloran

    I’m Kelsey Carolan and I interned for the medical unit on CBS This Morning this summer! CBS This Morning is CBS’ weekday morning show that emphasizes national and international news, hosted by Gayle King, Anthony Mason and Tony Dokoupil. During my time with the show, I participated in production meetings, pitched stories, researched news to be featured in our stories and found people to interview.

    I never really expected to learn so much about the coronavirus during such a short amount of time. Since I interned with the medical team, I worked on features about the lingering symptoms that COVID survivors were dealing with and the mental health of healthcare workers. Through trying to find people to interview and researching new developments of the virus as well as watching different Q&As, I learned so much more than I already knew about the pandemic and how multi-faceted it is. Reporting on it simply is not about just reporting statistics and the facts – it is about how schools are going to reopen, how nurses are handling long shifts, how survivors are still crippled with symptoms that may last for a long time and so much more. I realized how many important stories can come out of this pandemic – sad and extremely personal ones – and through this, how important it is to seek out stories that may not be known or thought about.

    Each day, I was able to join one of the production Zoom meetings. I looked forward to these because I got to learn what it would be like to be a producer on a network show and what the process of pitching, scheduling and booking is like. I even pitched two of my own stories! While I am trained in print (and was intimidated at first), I quickly realized that working on a show like this is something I really want to do now. Without this experience, I don’t think I would have figured that out.

    Another aspect of the internship program that I loved were the Zoom calls with CBS News legends like journalists Susan Zirinsky (an AU alum!), Jim Axelrod, Steve Hartman and many more. It was great to get advice from professionals who have spent so much time in the field and have really seen it all throughout their careers (Z basically has reported on every event from Watergate to Tinanmen Square to 9/11 so she had amazing stories).

    I am extremely grateful that CBS continued with a virtual internship program this summer and I hope to return to the network one day!

    Link to story I helped work on: https://www.cbs.com/shows/cbs_this_morning/video/dMGGGuBu5_2zKFympRRqz3wAIgqyu9Tc/covid-19-survivors-report-debilitating-physical-and-mental-symptoms-months-after-testing-negative/

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