by Taylor Hurt
This summer I’ve had the pleasure of working as an intern for the News Desk at NUVO Newsweekly. During my two-month stint here I’ve interviewed a variety of people ranging from politicians to moms and everyone in between. I’ve also gotten real experience storyboarding ideas in weekly newsroom meetings and published in two of the print newsweeklies. So what did I learn during all of this? Do you have a day or two? I kid, but I did learn a lot. Here’s top three list of what I believe were the most important lessons I learned while at NUVO.
Be Prepared: This is a broad topic because there are a broad number of things you can be unprepared for (I found out the hard way so you don’t have to). In my enthusiasm to jump on every story my editor gave me the green light on; I sometimes forgot to do all the necessary research on subjects I would be interviewing. With that in mind, make sure that you check websites and social pages so you don’t hear “well it says on my Facebook page….” after askinga question. On a lighter note, I learned to always have enough money for the meter when covering stories around the city. Nothing distracts from an interview more, than worrying that there will be a ticket on your windshield when you get back to your car. Aside from that keep your phone charged, your GPS turned on, and going old school with a pen and paper never hurt anyone. So much can go wrong when reporting, so preparedness is definitely key.
Stay Confident: Being in a professional newsroom for the first time can be daunting. Interviewing is still a work in process for me, talking to strangers still makes me kind of anxious, and my questions were misinterpreted often. I had to remind myself that I got here because my editor saw something in me; I am a good reporter and a great writer, and that mistakes happen, but it’s what you do after that makes the difference. I also take comfort in knowing everyone in the room has been where I am now. There’s truth in the statement that “there’s nothing to fear but fear itself.” It gets in the way. Don’t be afraid to do that interview, don’t be afraid to pitch that story, and don’t be afraid to ask questions, which leads me to my last bullet.
You are not an Island: NUVO has multiple departments from food to music to art. When the editors come together to storyboard ideas, there is a constant flow of knowledge. Contacts and ideas pass from hand to hand, and everyone wants to help each other because everyone ultimately wants what’s best for the paper. And when you are interning you are temporarily a part of that organization. Even the editor in chief noted my presence in meetings and made sure that I took notes on information that he brought back from conferences. I know that as I move on to larger organizations that this won’t always be the case, but being here really showed me the importance of connecting. Not only to expand my Rolodex, but also because there is inherent journalistic value in the exchange of ideas in a professional setting.
Going forward, I’m so excited to build on these skills that I’ve honed during this internship. It’s inspired me to be a better journalist across platforms, and I’m so ready to get back to IU and start up some new projects and share the wealth with my NABJ family.