On summer and exploring my options

I’ve been sparse this summer because of a tough no blogging policy at my press internship with Sen. Bill Nelson’s (D-Fla.) office. But now that it’s over and I’m back in school for my final semester, I’m ready to chat about the lessons I learned.

Having a non-journalism internship was a new experience for me. I realize it might seem strange that a student so dedicated to journalism would take a government relations internship, but these past few months, I’ve been watching all my friends graduate … and not find jobs.

There are a select few who found internships or jobs at small newspapers, but many of them have gone to law school, grad school, PR firms or back home to their parents because they can’t find anything. When I got rejected from 24 internships, I realized I needed to explore the other options that are available to someone with a journalism degree.

It was definitely not as bad as I was afraid it would be. The press shop I worked in consisted of four full-time staffers, and to my surprise, they all loved journalism. They pored over newspapers every morning, joked with reporters on the phone and lamented the state of the journalism industry. They didn’t try to avoid questions and they weren’t slimy people. Yeah, they were obviously trying to promote the senator, but they weren’t evil.

I learned a lot of valuable lessons about government relations, mainly to be straightforward with reporters and to “make news, don’t fake news.” They were comforting lessons that made me realize that there are PR professionals who love and respect journalism as much as those working in the industry.

It reminded me of something my old professor Richard Benedetto once said about being a political reporter, “To be a political reporter, you must love politicians.” Well, from what I could tell, to work in government relations, it seems you must love political reporters.

So where do I go from here? Well, this semester I have internship with the city of Gainesville’s press office, overseeing their social networking and Web presence and doing a little bit of video work. These two internships haven’t deterred me in the slightest from pursuing my dream to be a reporter, but if for some reason I couldn’t reach that goal, I know I’ll be OK.

And as for where I’m headed after graduation, I’ve enthusiastically accepted a six- to nine-month internship with the Las Vegas Sun. I’m considering this my big break and at this point, I’m pretty much counting down the days until I can head West. Great things lie ahead, and I can’t wait to live it up.

7 Responses to On summer and exploring my options

  1. Orange and Blue Forever says:

    You didn’t get an internship because you’re a hack of a reporter with few ethics. You proved that as “ombudsman” at the Alligator and Sam and Frank have the evidence to prove it.

  2. @ORANGE AND BLUE FOREVER

    Haha, wow. SG comments have made it onto my blog. I’m almost flattered.

    In response to your accusation, the only proof Sam and Frank have against me is that I have a damn good SG bullshit detector. Sam has lied to me on several occasions while I was editor-in-chief and ombudsman, so I’m simply going to assume you’re only familiar with half of whatever story you heard.

    I’ve addressed your SG comments this one time, but if you make any more, I won’t approve them. This blog is a forum for those who want to discuss journalism — not an SG gossip column. I try to keep the discussion topical.

    Feel free to air your grievances at The Radikal. I think it’s a more appropriate medium for you to express your opinions.

  3. Kimba says:

    Aw, Jessie, c’mon! TR monitors comments and you don’t. It’s much more fun here! Please let them stay so I can laugh, pleeeeeeease?

    Also, gimmie your address so I can send you your shoes.

    Journalism journalism, news news, nut graff blind lede inverted pyramid.

    There. Consider journalism discussed.

  4. Kimba says:

    Oh poo! You monitor them too. Nevermind, then.

    AP Stylebook.

  5. Greg Linch says:

    Congrats on the LVS internship! What kind of work will you be doing for them?

  6. @Greg – Not sure. I’m assuming a little of everything. No matter what I’m doing, I’m just SO thankful to have the opportunity to work with Rob Curley and his posse.

  7. Congrats on the summer internship. I think you made a wise choice. Did you privately blog/journal to capture the experience? Any opportunity to persuade the rule makers to change their stance in the future?

    Even better is the decision to head to the Sun for that internship. Just don’t spend so much time looking forward you miss the chances of today.

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