Wednesday, August 19, 2009

What is next...

So now that my time at IPS is over things have been boring and not nearly as exciting. During the semester I'll be taking classes on Foreign Correspondence and Sportswriting to figure out what path I want to take...although working for the BBC as a sports correspondent in Africa would be awesome. But really I'm just going to take a step back from this experience and figure out what types of work I want to do after I graduate and even now with internships for the semester. I am studying abroad next semester, either in Rome or Africa somewhere, so I am looking forward to getting a new journalistic prospective.

This semester I am not doing an internship because I'm working a lot this semester and my schedule is kind of crazy, that and I don't really have time for an internship between classes, work, and rugby so unfortunately IPS will be my last internship until next summer (or if I find one abroad). After graduation I am thinking of getting my Master's, so after that graduation hopefully I will be able to work as a sports writer or go abroad and work for some newspaper or magazine as a foreign correspondent, I haven't really figured that out yet.

So here is some advice for any of you looking for similar journalism internships. You have to follow up with them constantly, whether it's after you are contacted about the job or once you have a story in. Take complete ownership of your story and open yourself up to critiques, and when you get them make the changes without asking's helps you develop as a journalist and eventually you will see those edits grow fewer and fewer.

That's all from me. Have a great semester and good luck!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

My last day

So yesterday was my last day, which was sad because everyone was really cool and it was a great experience. Unfortunately I spent most of the day waiting for people to call me back but eventually I got a different story to work on about climate change.

But now that I'm done I guess I should probably do a reflection and all here it goes:
1. Being an actual reporter for an international news agency before my junior year in college was absolutely amazing.
2. Sitting in a small office all day waiting for something interesting to happen so that you can cover it is not so fun.
3. Getting free coffee and pastries every morning from the National Press Club (well technically I wasn't allowed but I didn't know that until last week) made every morning a little bit better, even if the coffee was really crappy.
4. At the end of the day when the deadline approaches everyone goes a little crazy, lots of conversations about fuzzy, big-eyed animals that got a little ridiculous.
5. It is way easier to write something from a press release.
6. When you are the only one in the office who was not born in a different country, you feel a little odd/intimidated, whatever haha (or when you are the only one who hasn't been kicked out of a country or is a refugee, etc.).
7. The other interns can save your life.
8. Your editors can be intimidating sometimes or you may think they're harsh and all that, but really you just have to adapt because in the end they will bring you muffins (or just be a good reference).
9. For me, at least, it is ridiculous nerve-wracking as you are dialing the phone or waiting to talk to the head or deputy director of some major NGO or other organization.
10. Seeing your article on the websites of different news organizations is one of the greatest feelings in the world.

So that is all from me. It was a two and a half months working and reporting for IPS. I have written about so many things from climate change to disability rights to Africa and the Middle East, but it's been fun. It's corny but getting to research and write about different places and subjects is actually a lot of fun. While I am closer to learning what type of reporter I actually want to be, I'm glad for the actual field experience and extremely grateful to everyone at IPS for helping me out.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Last two weeks

Well the last couple weeks have been uneventful with the Fourth of July, so I ended up taking two days off so I could go home. But other than that it's been great having an article out every day I'm there, so I end up getting three articles online a week. Last week I was able to get two out, both regarding Human Rights Watch reports. The first one was on a report about the northern region of Kenya, where Human Rights Watch has documented abuses by troops who are supposed to be protecting these civilians from militia groups but instead they have been torturing them and arresting them. The second one I wrote last week was about a detainee in Iran who is severely disabled and who Human Rights Watch is hoping to get released. He was a very prominent reformist and is disabled because of an assasination attempt against him in 2000. It was a really interesting report so I definitely encourage you to read it. It's been great to learn about these different regions of the world and issues and to write about them. It's definitely giving me a great look into the world of journalism and especially covering international issues, which has been a great opportunity for me.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Another week

Despite all of the challenges I am finally getting the hang of writing for them. This week I wrote two stories, one on Angola and the other on the new U.S. ambassador to Syria that I worked on with our deputy director. I actually had to write the one on Angola on Sunday because we received information on it on Friday but it was embargoed until Monday at midnight. The story was about a new Human Rights Watch report about the oil-rich region of Cabinda. I ended up doing a lot of research on the region on Friday and actually writing the story on Sunday so that it could be published Monday morning. It was fun writing the story and I got to learn more about different regions in Africa which was great, especially since I wasn't really aware of the situation in Cabinda.

Writing with our deputy director was good too, I was able to do all of the background on the issue and he did interviews. A lot of people are apparently in Syria so he couldn't get some of the interviews he wanted, but he got one or two which definitely added to the article. It's hard working with someone else because you have different ideas of how you want the story to go, but it is great getting his direct input as I'm writing and suggesting new things for me to research.

Overall it's been a good week and I am looking forward to see what I'll write about next week. I'm hoping that soon I'll be able to write about some of my passions if there is a slow week to raise awareness on these issues. But we'll see.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Way too many statistics and trees

This week I have definitely gotten a lot more experience writing for IPS. On Monday I was assigned a story about growing more American chestnut trees because they take more carbon out of the atmosphere than other trees. It was not the most interesting story to write, especially because I basically hate science, but it was good to have the opportunity to get another byline. You can read it here.

I also worked on another story yesterday that was definitely a difficult subject, at least to work with because of the huge number of statistics that it involved. I had to write about the latest World Refugee Survey and relate it to previous year's survey. It was hard because my boss was the one who had written all of the previous stories so it was definitely intimidating to work on something he knew so well. But after sifting through all of the statistics and looking at his stories I think it went pretty well. So here is my next byline all about the world's refugee population. It is actually an interesting subject now that it's not all numbers. So enjoy and you will hear from me more later!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Another week of adjustment

I have learned that it is sometimes frustrating to write in the extremely specific way of IPS, but I'm slowly getting there. It's hard because we have to write it from strictly a Washington stand-point and not step on any of the toes of any of the international bureaus. This week I wrote an article on Zimbabwe's Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai visiting the White House today so that should be going up soon. I love writing articles with subjects that I'm passionate about, which is Africa, because it makes it so much more fun to work on and research. And since I already know a lot about the subject it's just easier to talk about it because you know the basic history and who the leader is and what is going on in that country.

I'm hoping next week that I'll continue to adjust to this different style of writing and that I'll continue to get another opportunity to write about Africa. It's a lot easier to write about Africa than an event about changing the energy grid and the military's use of energy, trust me.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

International coverage

So as I continue to work for IPS the more I learn about their organization. While it's still hard writing these really long articles and providing a lot of context, it's great to have my article picked up by so many organizations. My Burundi article that I wrote last week was picked up by, which is a website I use for my own research because it's a great source of information about Africa. It was great seeing my article on their website and it was kind of a surreal experience.

On Monday I worked with my boss on an article about Iran's presidential elections. I went to an event Monday afternoon about the subject and the findings of a poll. Unfortunately the people did not talk much about their poll so that provided a lot of problems for me while working on the article. So because my boss wanted to write an article about it anyways we both worked on it. It was kind of frustrating to have to do but I learned a lot about the way he writes and the way he wants me to write for their organization.

We'll see what the rest of this week holds!