Monday, December 3, 2018

The interns tell all, Fall 2018 edition

At the end of each semester, I ask interns to post about their experiences and offer advice to fellow students. Here they go!

10 comments:

Unknown said...

It was August of 2018. I was in a dimly lit restaurant in New York City where the entrees cost more than my bus ticket, and I was on the phone with B.J. Roche, huddled in a corner on a couch praying the restaurant's ambiance wouldn't cut my cell reception, talking about journalism and internships. A few weeks later she helped me land my internship in the news section of the Daily Hampshire Gazette.

I'm finishing up my last couple of weeks at the Gazette. Since starting in September I've covered stories about local business owners and other events throughout the pioneer valley. I once photographed a car crash where there was a fatality. Another time I talked to dentists who, many surprisingly, do not give out toothbrushes or toothpaste on Halloween.

There are precious moments in reporting and those moments are what I loved most about journalism and being at the Gazette. One time I was covering a pongathon (no dashes, all one word. AP style, y'all!) benefitting resettled refugees in Northampton. Going in I expected the moments would come from the man who was playing pingpong for 12 hours straight or from speaking to a refugee who had been assisted by the resettlement organization. But the moment came from the owner of the pingpong studio. He said his studio welcomed people from all walks of life and anyone who walked through the doors would be greeted with love and respect. That's why he donated the event space for free. His words were beautiful. That moment reminded me that as journalists it's our responsibility to find the person most overlooked and talk to them. It also reminded me that more than the quotes it's the stories that are often those overlooked people.

Here are some quick tips I learned during my time at the Gazette: Be prepared. Be well-versed on your reporting -- know what you're talking about. Be on time and stay late. Always ask for more work. Ask people if they need help. Trust your voice and don't be afraid of it. And pitch, pitch, pitch! Pitching demonstrates you're aware, and eager to work.

When I took Newswriting and Reporting with Raz in June of 2018, I didn't expect to fall in love with journalism as much as I did. I took Ethics with Karen during the next summer session. Once I got a taste of good, ethical reporting it felt wrong going back to UMass and not doing it. That's where B.J. came in. The New York bar was incidental. Even when it was halfway through the semster and I felt overwhelmed with my internship she was there to guide and help me. Those overlooked people I was talking about in the last paragraph? Yeah, don't overlook B.J. She knows the game and she plays it well. Learn from her.

All this said doesn't mean journalism is rosy. Good stories come from relentless reporters. Our society needs good local journalism. It also needs the intern willing and eager to report.

One of the many perceptive and insightful staffers I worked with at the Gazette once said to me, "You learn journalism by doing."

Now go out and do it. You'll be great.

-- Elizabeth Donoghue

Unknown said...

This semester, I interned at the Daily Hampshire Gazette, just like Elizabeth above! Differing between us, however, is the fact that I was stationed in the features and lifestyle section.

When Brooke Hauser first hired me and told me where I'd be placed, I was hesitant. I'd just done an entire summer's worth of hard news at my internship with a local newspaper, Fire Island News. I'd written features plenty of times, but at this point, it wasn't my specialty.

I now see there was no reason to fear my initial placement. I've built close relationships with my editors and colleagues, all while discovering what I like most-- writing features. While feature and lifestyle stories are more slow-paced ant typically longer than what I was used to, writing them has given me the opportunity to get deeper into my stories than I was able to before, and put in the time to polish them up to my own personal standard of greatness (I was going to say perfection, but my editors and I are always left with things to tweak in my final drafts).

I've gotten to write pieces ranging from weekly arts previews, to staff event picks, to Buzzfeed-style pieces (my piece "77 Things to be Thankful For" that featured on the front page of Hampshire Life), to the good old-fashioned feature piece. Feature stories were always my hardest, yet most rewarding works-- in the process of creating them, I got the benefit of traveling all over the Pioneer Valley, from homes and coffee shops in Florence, to studios in Easthampton, to the downtown areas of Northampton, Amherst and South Hadley. Meeting and interviewing so many people and getting to see where they work and live was not only a wonder for my curious mind, but also major practice for my formerly less-than-adequate interviewing skills.

From the mentoring, advice, and encouragement of boundary-pushing I received from my editors and colleagues, I'm much more confident in not only my interviewing abilities, but also myself. I no longer stutter, stumble or lose my train of thought during interviews as I did prior to this internship; they used to be something I dreaded and avoided at all costs, but I now look forward to them, and perform better than I ever have.

My advice is to accept every assignment your editor gives to you with open arms, no matter how out of our comfort zone it might be. This is something I didn't do at first, and I now see how doing these pieces I thought I'd detest opened up a lot of new doors for me. I possess a much wider, much better skill set than I did when I first began this internship only two months ago, and feel a great sense of accomplishment for achieving everything I did. So please, if you're reading this and considering an internship, do it at the Gazette and tell the features section Danielle says hi!

Unknown said...

Megan Hayes
W. E. B. Du Bois Development and Communication Internship
Fall 2018
This Fall semester, I had the pleasure of interning for Carol Connare as a Development and Communication Intern at the W. E. B. Du Bois Library on campus. Though I’ve been employed since January, I was able to expand my work experience through the internship. Our job as a department is to work with alumnus and donors that donate to the library. Every year, donations are used to get new equipment, furniture, and programs to update library resources. I’m expected to reach out to donors who’ve recently donated and thank them, create video and photo content to send to donors, and share those videos across the library’s social media pages.

What I had this semester that I didn’t before was more time. Only having to take two classes this semester left me time for career training. This year, I completed various projects across several multimedia platforms. I had access to Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Premiere Pro, Adobe Audition, and Adobe Lightroom. This package costs thousands of dollars and I, excluded from the library, would never have access to these programs otherwise. Next semester, I intend to continue my internship with Carol and gain more office experience.

My advice is this: if you have the time to explore options, do it! Carol has been crucial in the takeoff of my journalism career. She's hands on and always makes herself available. She has taught me how to communicate, how to pose the right questions, and how to take on three projects at once without stressing. Opening yourself up to UMass faculty and staff will boost your academic and professional careers.

Unknown said...

Hi all!

This past semester I interned at the UMass News and Media Relations Office, working for Ed Blaguszewski. During my time at the news office I worked on a variety of projects that included writing news releases, working on social media campaigns and creating visual content, among other tasks. Since the news and media office has so many aspects to it, I was exposed to a variety of the functions they serve. The functions include social media, emergency communications, photography, social media, video production and news. This gave me the opportunity to learn what strategic communication I liked working with the most and practice my skills where I did not have as much experience.

I enjoyed this internship because there was such diversity in what I could work on and I was able to choose where I wanted to dive in. Being such a large campus, there was also never a lack of happenings.

This internship has played an important role in determining the career opportunities I will pursue after graduation. I highly recommend completing an internship (or a few if you can), to pinpoint what you want to do with your journalism skills. As a journalism major internships are equally as important as your coursework, and the credited internship process is super easy! Take advantage.

I would say it is definitely important to be flexible and take risks in any internship you have, to make the most out of the experience. Although intimidating at first, approaching new things that might scare you is the best way to grow and learn, as cliché as that sounds.

Making connections with people through internships, classes, and even outside of class is an amazing asset to have too, it really does take you so far.

~Carly LaCross

Unknown said...

This semester I was a SEO and Content Development intern for Isenberg. My job was to analyze applicant data for MBA prospects I worked closely with the Isenberg Marketing and Communications director and analyzed different aspects of applicant data depending on what project we were working on.

As a journalism student whose done his best to avoid numbers, this internship was unlike any job I've ever had. I was out of my comfort zone for a lot of the first couple weeks while working because I didn't understand the marketing terms and couldn't visualize the data as easily as I thought I would, but I still think it's important for journalism majors to try internships in things they don't necessarily associate with journalism because you can learn things that will 100% be relevant in your career even if your job is editorial.

This was also my first remote internship, and if there's one thing I learned it's that I'm much more productive when I have to physically go to an office to get work done. Working remote is cool, and though you think it would improve time management, but I don't think it does. After Thanksgiving break I decided that going into the office and working with my boss was much more productive than doing it on my own. In hindsight, this isn't a huge surprise but it was an interesting experiment nonetheless.

I really enjoyed my internship this semester and I learned a lot about how user analytics and content development go hand-in-hand within news organizations and media companies. Although Isenberg isn't a media company, the Isenberg website operates just as one should. I'm thankful for the opportunity to work for Isenberg, and I will absolutely be taking the things I learned with me for the rest of my career.

Unknown said...

Three times a week, I had to drive 40 minutes to Springfield for my PBS internship. Although it ate up a lot of gas, my experience with WGBY Television was definitely worth the drive. This fall, I interned with WGBY Television’s Connecting Point news fellowship program. Connecting Point is a local PBS current events program for Western MA. At WGBY, I worked as a paid production assistant in a broadcast television studio. I received hands-on experience in contact outreach, writing headlines, and editing a package.

My main advice to any broadcast journalism student is to be PERSISTENT. This is an industry where you must take initiative to get ahead. Working on Connecting Point included a lot of independent work, especially when it came to booking segments. Each day I had to research news stories, then find a guest to speak on the topic for our talk show. In order to achieve the most out of your internship, make sure to take initiative, network, and enjoy your job! Although I’m going abroad and won’t be able to return next semester, WGBY does hire back fellows who they like--so make sure to go above and beyond in your work. I would also highly recommend this internship to any broadcast journalism student who has access to a car, considering that it’s a paid internship in a real television studio. Keep in mind that initiative is key, and speaking up will help you rise up in the competitive industry of broadcast.

Important Tips:
Apply to everything---you never know what opportunities you may receive.
Take Initiative---independence is valued in this industry. Speak up, share ideas, and connect with co-workers.
Network---Your internship may open up other opportunities! A lot of people in broadcast have connections in other stations, so make friends with your co-workers.
Have Fun--Make sure to enjoy your work! This is the career field you want to be in, so enjoy it!

Elena Matarazzo said...

This semester I had the opportunity to serve as an intern for U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren in her Springfield regional office. Since this was not my first time working for a politician I was more assertive and confident in my overall approach. Having prior experience serving as a legislative intern for U.S. Senator Charles Schumer was helpful but, it initially led me to put more pressure on myself to make fewer mistakes than the other interns. During my interview the regional director also made a comment about how it is easier to hire interns with no experience in a U.S. Senate office so, I wanted to prove to her that I was fit for the role.

In the office I was responsible for constituent services which included, responding to constituent’s comments, filing casework for constituents and connecting them with federal agencies. In addition to answering phones, sorting mail and other administrative duties I was able to sit in on meetings, assist staffers when prepping for the Senator’s public events and attend the Holyoke Town Hall. Although the internship is not as glamorous as it may seem, I enjoyed assisting the people of Massachusetts in any way that I possibly could, even if my contributions were small.

In general, I am looking forward to exploring my interests and figuring out what I would like to do after graduation this spring. I am grateful for these internship experiences because they gave me the ability to “trial-run” potential career paths. Interning or gaining professional experience in industries that pique your interest pre-graduation helps at narrowing down your job search and solidifies your interests’ post-graduation.

Tricks and Tips:
-Be confident and assertive, they hired you for a reason.
-You know more than you think so, say it like you mean it.
-Be yourself! It's okay to put some personality into your work, just remember to also stay guarded at times.
-Have compassion for others.
-Speak up and stand out- make them remember you and your hard work!

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Unknown said...

I’ve been a part of the UMass Sports Network Creative Service team since my junior year here. I first started out at USN filming games and assisting in the live production of those games on ESPN+. I was not interested in production of live-game streams, so I was hesitant to accept the job in the first place. But, any experience in the sports media field was good experience and putting in time ultimately allowed to me to start my own social media segment for the network.
That is where my internship came in to play. I spent the last semester working as a Production Assistant Intern at UMass Sports Network and I’ve had a blast! After working with my boss for over a year, I explained to him that sports reporting was something I was really passionate about. He was very open to helping me as much as he could. I wanted to be on camera interviewing players and coaches and out in the field talking with fans. This was not something USN currently did, so with the help and a lot of trust from my boss, we came up with a social media segment called the Maroon Minute. Every week I wrote, shot and edited a minute video recapping the latest in UMass Athletics for fans and students. This video aired on twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Facebook. It was the perfect opportunity to get my work out there and great practice.
To any student looking to pursue an internship or job that doesn’t sound exactly what you’re interested in, but still in the relative field: take it. No experience is bad experience and you never know where that one job might take you. My time spent as a sideline camera woman only furthered my knowledge of sports video, something I will work closely with every day in the field. My second piece of advice is to get involved anywhere as soon as possible. It took some time for me to figure out what campus media outlet fit best for me, but I finally found my place at UMass Sports Network. If I could go back and change one thing it would only be that I wish I got involved sooner.

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