After spending some time at my internship, I think it would be worthwhile to outline some of the things I’ve learned:
- Reporting serves as the basis for commentary and opinion news writing. Effective pieces lead their coverage with the facts and arrive at a certain stance based on that information. Getting the necessary information requires calling up sources, reaching out to other journalists, or spending a significant amount of time researching online. At the end of the day, most people don’t care about you pontificating from your computer screen if you don’t have the reporting to support what you’re saying.
- Getting TV appearances on cable news shows helps boost your name recognition and is a reliable way of supporting your income. As I’m a little camera shy, I think I would have to get over this if I wanted to pursue a career in journalism.
- After working alongside my editor, I’m surprised by the number of op-ed submissions that are likely paid for by special interests. Most people view opinion pieces by congressmen, government officials, or even celebrities as being a representation of said person’s views, but they are often providing a recognizable face to someone else’s cause.
- The news cycle moves quickly. If you want to respond to something that happened today, you should have something written up as soon as possible. Responding any later puts you behind everyone else.
Anyways, above is a picture I took of the original Smithsonian Institution, built in 1847.