Rose Schneider, Junior (May 2012)
Major: International Journalism
Minors: Advertising & Multimedia
Internship: Intern with the Portage County Gazette
What interested you in this internship?
I’m a person who likes to be the best I can be at any given thing. I was interested in the internship position at the Portage County Gazette because I have my career goals set very high. I am an international journalism major and I aspire to work for National Geographic after graduating from Deakin in Melbourne, Australia. I know having every advantage possible is crucial when being compared to another possible candidate for any job but especially when applying for a position at the National Geographic Society.
How did you find out about the internship and approximately how long did it take you to secure it?
I found out about the internship by calling around different newspapers in and around my hometown. I was looking for an opportunity to expand my journalistic knowledge and practice things I had learned in classes at UW-Whitewater
I first contacted the Gazette in February  and they told me to contact them again when the end of the semester got closer. From the time I talked to the managing editor at the end of April, I knew I had the position. Our conversations went very well and I think it was obvious to both of us that I would be a good addition to their staff for the summer.
Describe your internship experience.
The internship at the Portage County Gazette required me to be a flexible and responsible writer. There were days where I would come in and the managing editor would hand me an address and say you have an interview here in 20 minutes. I’d be expected to go to the location, get the story and pictures, then go back to the office and put the story together for that night’s paper.
One of the great things about my internship was that I was given enough leeway to go out and find my own stories. When I was assigned stories, the editor never told me how to approach them or what to look for when going out with a camera and my notebook. There was enough faith placed in me that I was free to attack any event from any angle I chose. I appreciated that more than anything, because I learned so much about myself as a journalist. And because of that freedom, I was able to develop my writing style in new ways.
There were some weeks I would write anywhere from one to three articles for the Gazette. Most of the time, I would shoot my own pictures for my stories and sometimes for other writers’ articles as well. If I shot the picture, I was responsible for writing the cutline to accompany it.
Every week I spent at least five hours reading copy for the paper. I made edits on every section ranging from obituaries to front page news. Performing copyedits was especially helpful because it was a quick way to immerse myself deeper into the world of AP style and familiarize myself with the proper usage of common words and phrases.
Since the beginning of my internship at the Gazette, I’ve written 29 articles, interviewing people from all different professions including police officers, professors, librarians, council members, high school students, dance coaches, and small children, to name a few.
How did this opportunity relate to your career goals?
This opportunity related directly to my career goals because it gave me the opportunity to develop myself further as a journalist. Also, on a personal note, it gave me the chance to prove to myself that I’m a good writer. I believe anytime a person has the opportunity to have an experience that will better themselves that he or she should take advantage of it. My experience was great because I got to work closely with so many different people in the community and by doing so, I put my name out there as a fresh and ambitious writer.
What have you learned from your internship?
- Always have your camera and a notepad with you because you never know when you’ll see something that may be breaking news.
- Never think you know how the story will turn out because the person you’re doing the article on may break their collar bone in front of you.
- Don’t be afraid to call someone back to double-check a fact. They will appreciate the accuracy when the article appears in print.
- Do a bit of research on the person you’re interviewing when possible. Generally, people like it when you’re knowledgeable about what they’re passionate about.
- Don’t be afraid to harass someone about getting back to you. It’s your article and your butt on the line. Call or email as much as you need to get the story done on time. That person may have accidentally thrown away your number. Twice.
- Never be afraid to ask co-workers questions or for feedback. You will learn so much.
- Always do your best. You never know when another paper will pick up your story.
What advice would you give to other students about internships?
They’re wonderful. Try to take advantage of as many as you can and build good relationships with your co-workers. What you will learn is invaluable if you’re passionate about what you’re doing.
Have you had an outstanding internship experience like Rose did? Tell employers, faculty, and fellow UW-W students what made your internship experience so great! Be featured in the Intern Spotlight! To learn more, please visit the UW-W Intern of the Month Program information page.