My internship with the PLCA has taught me so much about how state government works, and it also introduced me to a politically competitive legislative environment. The rotational structure of the program places an emphasis on the hard work that goes into refining a story and explaining complex political or policy topics in such a way so that it is relevant and meaningful for the readers of that individual publication. Quickly, you learn that you have the ability — with the guidance of some of the best long-time, experienced state Capitol reporters and editors — to learn a large, sophisticated state bureaucracy and political environment and hold your own in tackling important urgent issues and stories of statewide significance.
The confidence a PLCA intern walks away with is perhaps the best intangible part of the internship. PLCA interns become accustomed to interviewing lawmakers, questioning department secretaries and connecting decisions made in Harrisburg to everyday Pennsylvanians. I really grew to appreciate state Capitol coverage. I realized just how important the work is and why this program and accountability journalism is so important to the health of the state. And you learn quickly how past decisions — education funding, property tax rate, staff levels at the Department of Environmental Protection — really shape the lives of the state's residents.
You'd be hard-pressed to find an internship program that gets you this level of exposure, is this practical and high-profile and gives you opportunities to cover this many different topics for such a variety of publications and audiences. If you want to move up from covering your local city council, this is the best place to start. Pennsylvania is, frankly, just such an interesting place to cover state politics and government. There are lots of different perspectives on issues and it is annually a hotly contested state for whatever positions happen to be on the ballot that year. There is no shortage of policy oriented or political stories to tell in the Keystone State. Come learn, grow and get better through this program.
Jordan Wolman, 2020 intern