I am truly going through withdrawal, and it is painful. Why did I have to leave?
This last quarter I wrote for San Clemente Patch as an intern through UCI. Patch is an online news source sponsored by Huffington Post and AOL. Editors of the different Patch websites appoint freelancers, interns and other contributors to write about the arts and entertainment, local news, sports and more. I interned at Patch because it was very educational and a way for me to get some bylines. It was my second writing internship and I felt ready to do more in-person interviews and add variety to my portfolio, which then consisted of sports articles, business profiles and current events.
As it turns out, I only spent one night interviewing people but made it a point to try out new, more challenging articles than at Siskiyou Daily News.
What was different about it? Well, for one, I wanted to embrace articles that were a little more difficult to write, articles that informed people. While crime blotters are not very intellectually stimulating, they take good judgment to decide what to include, and they also follow a particular style. So I learned this, and tackled some city council items, like this one. You do not want to know how long this took to put together 5 paragraphs that stated clearly what the issue was and what action the council wanted to take. Learning to do articles that aren’t typically your style is a good way to get into the journalism business.
All of this was strictly for the experience. Plus, I had fun learning it and I like to think that I took it in stride. I met with my editor and job shadowed him.
Doing informative articles and making deadline can help increase the odds that you’ll get rewarded for your work.
The rewards came to me twice. I spoke up about wanting to do an article related to the arts to my editor, and he promptly gave me an assignment to write about a painter living in France who had just started her artist residency in San Clemente. I did extensive research, drawing from press releases and her artist bio, and went to Wikipedia to read up about her style for general purposes. Preparing for the interview was work and I did a lot of fact checking, but it helped the interview go smoothly. Putting it all together was intense. I wanted readers to understand her artistic process and go out and see her work for themselves. The resulting article was entirely worth it.
My second article was more demanding. I was covering the opening of a female arts collective gallery in Laguna Beach and the goal was to go more in-depth and really dig into the art these women were doing and why they were doing it. This required a ton of research too, and the night of the event tested my limits as a reporter. It was crowded and noisy in the gallery, and I worried about my recording device failing me and flipping through my notes like a newbie. I’ve learned to let those kinds of things go and to stay positive and focused on the job. Another thing I learned was how to take flattering photos of people despite tricky circumstances like lighting, trying not to look like I was stalking them and finding a suitable background. A final thing I learned was that even if research you do for an article affects you personally, you have to be diligent and write anyway. I spent a few days thinking and writing about them, and I realize now that by having that time to work I put a lot of myself in that article. It was the longest piece I’ve ever published and it appeared across three Patch websites.
Someday I hope to return to San Clemente Patch. My articles are up in the ‘Clips’ section of my Blog.
Take a look at some of the photos I took for my piece about Splendor Device here. You’ll be able to read the whole article, too.