Thank you for the life-changing experience that this internship gave me. Over the course of ten weeks, I gained confidence in myself, in my writing, and in my field. I never knew I could learn so much in such a short period of time. With every two-week rotation, I had to adjust to different deadlines, styles and audiences. That proved that no matter what, I can adjust to the changing needs of any publication. Covering politics, an ever-dividing issue, showed me that there is nothing I can’t cover. This gives me the versatility needed to be successful in the many parameters found in the field of journalism. Working with The Philadelphia Inquirer, I completed both long projects and daily stories. Positive audience feedback ensured me that I can produce successful content for a large audience while negative comments only further toughened my skin for journalism but reminded me to continue to ask the hard questions. At PennLive/The Patroit-News, I cranked out stories every day — writing three stories on the first day. Self-confidence soared during this rotation because I had to trust myself to publish stories without an exhaustive editing process. With The Morning Call — which was much like The Inquirer — my work shifted between long and short pieces, but there was hands-on editing so I wouldn’t make mediocre mistakes and I could constantly learn ways to improve. At Capitol Wire, it was laid back since budget season ended early, yet it was the political centre; therefore, the stories had to showcase that. Finally, I worked with The Caucus as an investigative reporter who penetrated the surface of an issue, asked the difficult questions, and produced a long-form media production about the abortion issue in light of Trump’s Supreme Court nomination and its impact on state elections. Thank you, all. Thank you for choosing me for this internship and believing that this small southern girl could cover the political arena of Pennsylvania.
Lasherica Thornton University of Mississippi, 2018
Within hours of running into the Capitol newsroom on my first day as an intern, I was in the Governor's Reception Room covering the attorney general and governor's press conference on a new reentry program for Pennsylvania prisoners. Walking into the press conference with little preparation my first day on the job, knowing I had to walk out with a story for The Philadelphia Inquirer, I knew this internship would be different than my previous ones.
And I was right. As a post-graduate intern with the Pennsylvania Legislative Correspondents' Association this summer, I was supported, but not coddled; given independence, but not stranded. There was no coffee-fetching or sending faxes, but I was instead treated as one of the newsroom's own. I was trusted with stories on complex legislation and Pennsylvania's notorious budget problems, and was allowed opportunities to write enterprise pieces on topics that excited me.
I have had internships where I sat in a corner fact-checking all day, but that was not my experience with the PLCA. I was on the phone and running around the Capitol, typically writing a story per day or more. I felt like a real reporter rather than "the intern."
I was also able to get a feel for six different newspapers' rhythms. Each of my five two-week rotations flew by, each having a distinct feeling from the rest, and offering me new knowledge that I hadn't learned from the others. I was encouraged to inject more color into my stories for The Allentown Morning Call, incorporate multimedia elements into stories for PennLive, and report the hell out of long, investigative pieces for The Caucus. And each reporter I worked with at all six newspapers was eager to help me, answering my questions and encouraging me to grow.
I may have had a journalism degree under my belt going into this internship, but I sure had a lot to learn. This internship helped me fill in the gaps of my knowledge with valuable, well-rounded experience I truly don't think I could have gotten anywhere else, and helped me discover what kind of reporting I want to do in the future.
The Pennsylvania Legislative Correspondents' Association internship is an invaluable experience for aspiring journalists, especially those who wish to cover state politics. The experience is more of a temporary reporting job than a conventional internship; an intern is thrown into the thrust of Capitol politics and from day one is working with experienced, talented reporters to produce content to be published in several well-respected Pennsylvania publications.
Not only did I exponentially increase my knowledge of state politics and what goes on in the Capitol, I also further developed my writing skills through constant reporting and collaboration with other journalists. It's an excellent transition from my college experiences into the real world of journalism, and the skills that I have learned in the Capitol newsroom, along with the relationships I formed, will remain in my mind as I continue my career in journalism.
Logan Hullinger Indiana University of Pennsylvania Journalism '18 Email: email@example.com Cell: (814) 319-5158
When I first walked up the steps to the main entrance to the state house, I had a sense of my own abilities as a reporter that was probably a little unearned, a little inflated. I had taken plenty of courses that ran me through the intricacies of newswriting. I had worked as a fact checker during the semester prior and I had some clips from my school paper, some of which, I maintain, are pretty good. I thought I was well-suited, if a little tentative, to cover state government that summer. So it was probably for the best that my first two week stint was under the tutelage of Brad Bumsted, a veteran Harrisburg muckraker. In that two-week window, my idea of what it was I could do as a writer was flipped on its head. My copy became Swiss cheese and I had to take it back to the drawing board and pivot, try to see it from different angles and find holes that an editor or reader might, and beat them to the punch. I later heard Brad described as a kind of drill sergeant: you have to break the new recruits of old habits, especially when one of them, I would later learn, was the youngest to ever be accepted into the program, and I think, still wet behind the ears. From there, rotating stints with my fellow intern, I was able to soak in the variety of different approaches to reporting the news that the separate outlets offered, oftentimes watching as my stories were edited in real time, with explanations from the reporters for paragraphs moved and sentences cut. I ran sources down in the corridors of the statehouse, and conducted man-on-the-street interviews in downtown Harrisburg. And I was treated like a working journalist in a storied newsroom with lauded reporters, which afforded me a trove of experiences that simply isn’t on offer in a classroom. In that twelve week window, I saw how integral journalism is to maintaining an accountable democracy. I left that summer with just a peek into that world, but for the reporters I worked under, the work continues. I’m happy knowing that, as journalism adjusts to a changing landscape, future students will get the same taste of the tenacity and integrity that should be at the forefront of any budding reporter’s mind. -Colt Shaw, Temple University, '16 intern