In my first week as an intern with the Pennsylvania Legislative Correspondents’ Association, I covered municipal elections, pushed my way into a press gaggle with the governor and collected eight bylines. In short, I quickly realized that I landed a great internship.
I got my fast-paced start at PennLive, where I would write roughly 25 articles over three weeks. Later, I would wait outside the Pennsylvania Senate chambers to pounce on lawmakers as a reporter for Capitolwire during budget season, and drive around central Pennsylvania to interview people living without broadband access while working with the Philadelphia Inquirer and Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. As a reporter with The Caucus, I dug into data and sorted through spreadsheets to land a cover story. Closing out the summer, I learned about broadcast reporting with ABC27, editing a package on one of my last days as an intern.
I loved every minute of it.
I’ll be forever grateful to the people I worked with during my internship, because they taught me a lot. They taught me how to edit a video, how to take photos and write notes at the same time, how to work my way to the front of a press conference and how lawmaking and governing actually work.
But most importantly, my experience in Harrisburg taught me that political reporting is what I want to do with my career, and gave me the confidence I needed to go for it.
So if you’re a prospective intern and made it this far, go for it and apply, because I can’t recommend this internship enough.
Sasha Hupka, 2019 intern
On my first day in Harrisburg for my PLCA internship, I went to the food court with my parents for lunch. As I ate my lukewarm Taco Bell, we marveled from afar at Gov. Tom Wolf, who had just stopped in for some pizza. Within a week, I was interviewing Wolf and other politicians and publishing stories for the top news organizations in the state.
Throughout the course of 12 weeks, I grew so much as a reporter. I had covered politics in my hometown of Philadelphia, but with the PLCA I was able to write technical pieces about the state budget for Capitolwire, a front-page profile on a new state representative for the Philadelphia Inquirer, and participate in data analysis and reporting on an investigation for Spotlight PA and The Caucus. I learned how to write for television with ABC27 and went live on Facebook at a protest for PennLive. Everything I wrote required hands-on work, from staying late to chase the Senate majority leader for comment on the new budget to photographing the lieutenant governor’s mansion and sitting in on a taping of This Week in Pennsylvania.
The real gem of this internship, however, were the Capitol reporters who became my mentors for the summer. I started the summer with Angela Couloumbis, the Inquirer reporter who taught me how to write “jazzed-up ledes” and guided me through my first-ever profile. Brad Bumsted and Sam Janesch trusted me to help with their months-long campaign spending investigation, which taught me how to turn thousands pages of credit card statements into a longform story. Everyone I worked with during my internship is still on my side as I navigate job applications, and I can’t thank them enough.
I came into this internship as a political science and journalism double major, but this experience taught me that there is so much you can’t be taught in a classroom. No other summer program I can find gives their interns such substantial work published in diverse news sources. I can’t recommend it enough.
Alyssa Biederman, 2019 intern
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