Tuesday, July 22, 2008
When I first decided to intern at the JFP, I really had no idea what I was getting into. I knew I would be coming to the office three days a week and seven hours or so a week, but I didn't know too much else about the kind of things I'd be doing. Now that I've started my eighth week here at the paper, I don't know where those eight weeks have gone, in a good way. I think I expected to write a little, since Maggie and I discussed what I would like to write about in my first meeting with her. I didn't expect to write so much though and I mean that in a good way, as well. I also didn't expect to be involved with so many different projects. Perhaps what I'm trying to get at is that I didn't expect to be so busy. Seven hours a week doesn't sound like a whole lot, but I soon realized I wasn't limited to seven hours in the office. From our intern class once a week to other projects outside of intern hours to interviews that can be scheduled on other days, I am able to put as much time as I want into the JFP. That's one thing I've learned this summer: If you want more to work on, you can definitely find something here to plug your efforts into. That and if you keep saying yes, the opportunities will keep coming. This summer my goal was to try and learn as much about the different aspects of journalism as possible and I'm pretty sure there's not a better medium in the state where I could've done that than the JFP.
I'm so glad the summer has been so good for you, Natalie. Our intern class has just been incredible; I can't believe how many projects we're knocking off the list. Amazing. Your comments about realizing that you can put in extra time are very important to me. Right now, I'm in Chicago teaching at the Academy for Alternative Journalism at Medill (Northwestern), and we've talked a lot about passion and developing craft. People who become amazing writers and journalists (or whatever else) have a passion, and a certain obsession, for the work it takes to become great. I heard Andrea Elliott, a young NY Times journalist who won a Pulitzer for her series on an Imam in New Jersey, speak at a workshop last year. She talked about how she developed a beat of covering the Muslim community herself on her own time because she had other duties at the paper. But she had the drive to go after this amazing series of stories, doing whatever it took, whenever she could dit it. As a result of her willingness to work hard and not watch the clock, she won the Pulitzer Prize. I believe in life-work balance (at least in theory, if not always in practice in my own life), but I also know that your life is more fulfilling when you work really, really hard at being excellent at what you do, and thus making a difference when you do it. You guys have worked really hard this summer, and with a passion for making a difference in people's lives. I salute you all for that. ;-) And I'll see you in class Thursday!
Natalie, I'm so glad you're "keeping busy." You and all the other interns are doing such a great job!
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