Working for the New Times this summer has been an extraordinary experience and solidified my passion for journalism. As I soon as I arrived on the job, I was thrown right in. I remember I arrived my first day and by the day’s end, I had already written my first article. As I got adjusted to the newsroom, I remember meeting with one of my editors and discussing how the goal was to write three stories a week. I sat there thinking to myself, how am I going to be able to thoroughly report and write three different stories in a week? However, I soon realized I had written two stories in one day, something I thought I could never do, but I could not have done it without the support and guidance from the newsroom. The extraordinary editors and staff writers have provided me with great advice and journalistic techniques that I will carry on with me into the future. I loved how I was encouraged to pitch original ideas and never was forced into writing a specific story. I have been taught how to come up with different story ideas, where to look for stories, how to find story contacts, and what makes a successful and interesting story. As I reviewed and worked through my stories with my editors, specifically, Chuck, Jessica, and Celia, I learned how to properly tell a story with the appropriate word choice and sentence structure. I appreciate them taking the time out of their busy days to teach me how to improve my writing or how to come up with different story ideas.
Additionally, I enjoyed the camaraderie and support among writers and editors in the newsroom. Everyone’s doors were always open, and it never was an issue in asking for help. I not once felt discouraged when an article did not pan out as expected because it was such a welcoming and supportive environment. I enjoyed and looked forward to our weekly copy-note meetings because this really taught me how creating a successful newspaper involves help from everyone on staff. I loved how I would present the stories I would be working on during a specific week and everyone would be throwing out ideas about who I should speak to or where I could find this and that. I also didn’t realize how important word choice was in terms of the headline and other online software techniques were in attracting readers. It really taught me how to draw reader sin to generate traffic.
Perhaps, the most important thing I have learned is to be confident in myself. For instance, when I had written an article about the Weston woman allegedly harassing residents trying to become citizens, I soon began to doubt what I had done or made some mistake in choosing to write the story after she began attacking me online, claiming I lied in the story and was sending her death threats. However, I soon realized by me doubting myself and not wanting to publish such a story is letting her win. I knew everything she was saying about me was wrong and I should not let someone like that ruin my chance in exposing what is happening. Through that experience of being harassed for two weeks straight, I realized how important is to be a journalist right now. I learned what journalists face every day and I could not imagine what the writers for the New Times have experienced over the years when writing a controversial story. Through that whole experience, I felt the support from the newsroom. Also, I now feel comfortable in calling a complete stranger for a story. When I was younger working for my high school yearbook, I struggled in interviewing people I didn’t know, but now, this experience showed me how easy it is to carry a conversation during an interview.
Overall, this internship has been an unbelievable experience from writing stories to just being in the newsroom every day. I now find myself constantly looking for a new story idea. Although I doubted my journalistic abilities in the beginning of my college career, I have now realized this is where I belong. I just love the feel of investigating and writing a story. I also learned so much about Miami and Broward, two places I had thought I knew everything about in the 20 years of me living here. From being sent to a dentist office owned by individuals who are connected to a murder-for-hire plot to being named in a police report for a story I had written, this internship has exceeded expectations and provided me with countless opportunities to improve my reporting and writing abilities. I am excited to continuing working as a freelance writer for New Times.