On to the next (update with first article)

I started an internship with the St. Louis Post-Dispatch on Monday from the paper’s Springfield, Ill. bureau. Run by one reporter who’s been there for years, the bureau exists primarily for readers in southern Illinois that prefer the Post-Dispatch to their home state’s publications (or in addition to).

I’ll be posting links to my work here and you can also read it on the P-D’s political blog: Political Fix

UPDATE: My first article “Crises await Illinois lawmakers,” previews the 3-day session beginning Tuesday. I made it onto the Post-Dispatch’s front page (happy dance) and front page of the Web site stltoday.com this morning. I didn’t catch a screenshot of that fast enough – but the story is still lead on the “Illinois news” page:

Looking back on summer

The fact that I haven’t had time to do additional posts about my internship at the Janesville Gazette should tell you something. It’s been busy.

The editors at the Gazette believe in a trial by fire or sink/swim method for interns. From the first day I sat down at my desk, they handed me an assignment and I was expected to run with it. I think I can safely say I met those expectations and often went beyond.

I’ve had a lot of time to think about the experience this week. My summer-long project explaining how the city’s water system operates ran last week and it’s been odd to not fill gaps in the day with chats about blending stations and chlorine levels.

But that time has been valuable, for me at least, to come up with some conclusions and/or observations about my experience.

Read more…

Full timer

I started my 3-month summer internship at the Janesville Gazette in Wisconsin Monday. I think I’m in the right business – if we’re only considering how much I love the work so far. I turned in drafts of my first two articles today and followed the advice of a former professor to ask for as much feedback as possible.

I’ve been on the unofficial garbage beat so far this week :p covering landfills and electronic recycling. Woo hoo!

In all seriousness, everyone at the Gazette has been so helpful and friendly. I didn’t expect anything else, but it definitely helps to feel comfortable asking questions whenever they come to mind.

Living by myself in a new place is probably the toughest part of all this so far. I’ve known that moving away from family and friends was almost unavoidable in this industry. But thinking about it is nothing compared to moving into an empty apartment and exploring a new town on your own. Maybe it gets easier?

I’ll try to keep posting links to my work this summer here and some more info about working as an intern and learning about a new place. Here’s hoping the next three months go as well as the first few days!

Pulitzer gut reactions – why I can’t give up

Alexandra Berzon of the Las Vegas Sun was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service today. Her three-part series had impact – plain and simple.

Awarded to the Las Vegas Sun, and notably the courageous reporting by Alexandra Berzon, for the exposure of the high death rate among construction workers on the Las Vegas Strip amid lax enforcement of regulations, leading to changes in policy and improved safety conditions.

I hesitated to add myself into the subject line of this post. I worried people would misunderstand the idea. It’s not about the awards or the recognition – I’ve never been the type that aspires to win a Pulitzer. A thank you from an editor or even better, a reader, is more valuable in my book.

I point out her work because it demonstrates the impact that this industry can have – when the work is done well, accurately and gets at the things that truly matter in life. In this case, the right to work in a safe environment and trust that your employer is doing everything possible to make that happen. 

Make some time and read what you can.


Giving in to the Final Edition

With only weeks left before graduation, college seniors would prefer to be soaking up the dwindling days of sleeping late, going to bed with the sun and dollar beverages. Instead

Suzanne Block isn’t basking in the insulating embrace of college as she waits the eight weeks until her May 9 graduation from Lake Forest College.
  
When she’s not in class or studying, she’s scanning online job sites, sending out résumés and cold-calling potential employers, anything that might get the frustrated 21-year-old a job.

“Damn me for being born in ’87,” said the English and communications major. “This is just a nightmare. There could not be a worse time to be looking for a job.”

  Read more…

An online life

Well it took me awhile – and this still isn’t the reporting or research I would rather be doing on this page. But here goes my first shot.

A friend of mine recently spent an evening poring over her old Xanga page, regardless of the political science exam we both were cramming for, created sometime around junior high.

Her absolute joy at finding the old memories got me thinking about how my generation will remember our past experiences. How long will our Facebook albums be archived? Will we look back at Google chats to remember the jokes we laughed at in college?

Read more…

Work in progress for now

I’m brand new to personal blogging – the only other experience I have is an internal feedback blog created for The Daily Illini at the University of Illinois C-U campus. More intelligent posts will follow soon.