July 29, 2005

INTERNSHIP: Star Reporter

With three assignments awaiting publication, my internship at The Star ended July 27.
Josh and I met with JCCC's professor of journalism and media communications Mark Raduziner and associate professor of journalism Greg Harrell to discuss our internship experiences and turn in our documents, evaluations and a research paper.
Here is a list of articles carrying my byline though not every story I wrote had a byline for some reason and therefore they aren't included. Some stories carry the correct byline of Miguel M. Morales. Others simply use Miguel Morales. One came with a byline of Manuel M. Miguel, which I don't really understand.
Besides learning how to bang out stories on the fly, the best part of the internship came when Shawnee Mission Neighborhood News editor Mark Anderson offered us both freelance contracts.

Now comes the transition from intern to freelance journalist which brings a whole new angle to newsroom relationships we've established this the summer.

July 16, 2005

INTERNSHIP: Sleeping dogs into Watchdogs

I'm preparing for my second Roland Park city council meeting. The first proved difficult for a few reasons.
  1. TMI - So many documents, budgets and plans; motions, discussions and votes; don't forget ranting residents. It almost makes me feel sorry for politicians -- almost.
  2. Q & A - Despite information overload, questions arose. As we moved through the agenda, I constantly revised my questions and list of sources to answer those questions.
  3. ID - council members have name plates but who were all those other people? Why did that old dude sit there for two hours? He wasn't even paying attention. Why the hell don't city employees say their names before they speak?
  4. PDQ - Absorb, process and interpret information. Quickly adjust and prioritize items for the story. Get those questions answered before council members finish grazing at the refreshment table and head for their SUVs. Quickly get to a computer and write the story for tomorrow's edition.
  5. AEQ - Josh usually covers this beat. He revitalized the meeting notes, as the paper calls them, raising reader interest. I felt pressure to equal his efforts while adapting them to my style. Besides a 200-year-old parasite at a competing paper decided to attend the meeting instead of writing his copy off the agenda and Josh's published article. I had to write tight, well-organized copy in order to deter him from plagiarizing my work.

At the next meeting the Roeland Park PD will present (and hopefully demonstrate) Taser technology in order to get the council to approve and allocate funds for it.

It's great having an editor who trusts me to cover city government.

July 12, 2005

INTERNSHIP: Independence Day

Spurred by a required meeting with my journalism instructor, I met with my supervisor about my internship. I laid it all out saying I didn't feel challenged, the quality of my work was slipping and, at the risk of sounding like a clip whore, that I needed clips.
He responded by immediately approving three story pitches, granting my request to work with other editors outside our bureau in addition to my in-house assignments and offering feedback on my stories.
I still don't have a desk, voicemail, e-mail or experience working on the software or in their newsroom (I'm convinced this is training for a future as a freelance journalist).
What I do have comes in confidence in managing my boss, initiating a difficult conversation and learning how to be proactive without being a bitch -- well, at least to my boss.
We learn these lessons in our college newsrooms but sometimes we don't know how to apply them to our internships. Accustomed to our roles as editors and managers in our college newsrooms, standing as a reporter in a strange newsroom makes us feel like our first semester in Introduction to Newswriting.
No matter how far up the ladder we travel in our respective newsrooms, we should always remember the courage and uncertainty we experienced stepping on the first rung.
It’s easy to remember those who encouraged us though we must not forget those who challenged us.