personal · school · work

COMM 492 Internship Portfolio

Over the course of this internship, I have faced many challenges to achieving my goals. For example, an interview subjects for one of my later articles took a very long time to respond to me, and was difficult to reach in general. There were other issues, as well, such as having to juggle my summer job at Wawa, as well as the responsibilities from RVA Magazine. These responsibilities included contacting interview subjects, setting up interviews, conducting interviews, transcribing interviews, and then finally writing the articles.

I think that this internship has greatly affected my career path by giving me needed perspective on how the journalism industry works. Through this internship, I have been able to speak with people who have seen a lot more of both rest of the world and the journalism sphere. For example, most of my higher ups had been working in and around the Richmond area in local media. An exception to this was our politics editor, Landon, who had previously worked for Vice, and had also worked in Africa and the Middle East on an IED disposal crew for the State Department. So there is a wide variety of experience that I saw while working in this internship, and I feel that speaking with people who have had these experiences is beneficial to my understanding of my career path.

In my first journal that I wrote about this internship, I wrote about the skills that I wished to achieve while I was there. These were that I wanted to learn how to manage my time better and learn how to balance my responsibilities. I think that I have accomplished both of these tasks, because I have completed my articles and been told that they are very well done. Also, interview subjects have complimented my questions. I also did well in my COMM 410 class, and started a summer job at Wawa. I achieved these goals primarily by purchasing a large calendar in which I wrote not only the dates for when my internship assignments were due, but also my COMM 410 class and when I was scheduled to work at Wawa.

In my performance evaluation, I listed three goals for this internship:

  • Write and opinion editorial
  • Interview a politician
  • Write about a subject unique to the African American community.

I did interview two people that are running for political office, Ben Hixon and Jake Crocker. However, I did not get to interview with an actual sitting office holder. I did, however, write a review of Mamma Mia!’s Richmond performance. I also wrote about crime in Richmond, and that article has not gone up yet as of this moment. This issue effects the African-American community in Richmond, because much of Richmond’s African American population is confined to the lower income areas due to continued housing discrimination.

On the issue of mentorship, I feel that I was very thorough. My supervisors Brad and Amy both showed me how to post on the websites for RVA Magazine and GayRVA, and how to use AP style. Another supervisor of mine, Landon, gave me tips on how to ask meaningful questions when I interviewed Ben Hixon, as well as general information on how to improve my writing, as did the other supervisors.

From my work at RVA Magazine and GayRVA, I have selected six different documents, five of which are actual articles, and the other one is a text file that I used as resources when I wrote the articles.

The first article is about a local painter, Elizabeth Flood, who was awarded a fellowship from the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. Amy sent me an email with Flood’s contact information, and I then emailed Flood asking when I could interview her. A few days later, we spoke on the phone and I used a recording of the conversation to write the article. I recorded this conversation with my voice recorder and uploaded the audio file to otranscribe.com, a website the Brad and Amy introduced to us. This website plays the audio while the user types the text, making transcription a lot easier. This file can be found on my Google Drive here. From this text version of the interview, I was able to take out quotes that I felt added substance to the article. This is the same process that I used for each article I wrote. I wrote this article directly on the RVA Magazine website itself, like all the other articles after June 19. Before this, we used to write the articles in Word and then email them to Amy.

The second article is one of my more recent pieces, on the issue of marijuana decriminalization in Virginia. I started writing this article towards the end of the internship, and but I had to put it off for a while to work on other, more immediate projects. I requested information from both the Ed Gillespie and Ralph Northam campaigns, but only got any real help from my contact with Northam’s campaign. I also spoke in person with two representatives of Virginia NORML (the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws).

The third article is about my experience at Virginia Comicon, where I went for both days and took several pictures on my phone when I was there. I did not know if I would need to write an in depth article on the event, so I interviewed some people. However, it ended up being more of a photo collection. Before I went, I had a to apply for a press pass to get in.

A fourth article is about the time I went to the Library of Virginia’s exhibit on Prohibition in Virginia. I went to the exhibit and interviewed the Library’s Dr. Gregg Kimball in person. I also went to the Enforcement Stories event at the Library.

The fifth article is based on two press releases from Equality Virginia, so it is shorter than many of the others. I found supporting information for this on Equality Virginia’s website and in a PDF press release that Amy forwarded to me.

I feel confident in saying that, yes, I would recommend RVA Magazine to students who are looking for an internship that will provide them with lots of experience and the skills necessary to succeed in the journalism industry.

Pictured below are two pictures of me working on assignments from my internship. The right shows me at the office with the other interns, and the left shows me working from home.

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