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Self Evaluation

This past semester I was fortunate enough to intern with Tallahassees Capital City Villager. Its a local and independent paper exclusive to Tallahassee and displays the arts, culture, and current affairs in todays society and location. This was an entirely different experience from the one I had interning at The Torchlight Center and I gained a lot of insight which I think will be especially beneficial for the field Im interested in going in. Working with this magazine I got to experience first hand the work that goes into releasing an issue, managing deadlines, interviewing experts, and doing a lot of research. My previous internship was more focused on social media and marketing through social media, whereas this one was much more journalism oriented. Since thats something I think I want to do after graduation, this was a good start. The first thing I had to do for my internship was meet with my supervisor, Joe Berg, for a discussion of the current projects and pieces that were being worked on for this past issue. Working out a time to meet was sometimes difficult but that just reinforced how difficult it can be to meet with others when conflicting schedules are involved, so this just prepared me and trained me for that and having a flexible schedule. I met with him the first week of class and he told me what some of the things he wanted to work on were, and let me pick what it was that Id be most interested in. It was very exciting and interesting to hear about prospective stories that were building. Ive never gotten a behind the scenes look at a magazine like that. Because the magazine is a quarterly publication, its released only four times a year. The most recent issue came out in October and that was responsible for the main project I worked on throughout this internship. I was assigned to work on an article that was going to be the feature article for that issue, it was going to be a highlight of Frenchtown and a look into what life is really like for the average Frenchtown citizen. Coincidentally, the same time this was going on some news came out tying an officer in Tallahassee to some former allegations and that took the place of feature article. Mine got pushed to the next issue, but for the two months I was working on it I had to look up various statistics and research using information from the US Census primarily. To accurately portray the average citizen of Frenchtown, I had to make sure that I knew exactly what that entailed which meant I had to dive into a sea of averages and demographics to put that together. This really showed me the significance of having credible sources and just how much digging is involved in finding those sources that you need. Getting some of this information was by no means easy, and several chats with Joe Berg emphasized how important it was that we objectively portrayed this so as to be able

to counter any sort of negative feedback that may have come our way, as that happens often in issues regarding race. Aside from finding sources for my article online, I also met with one woman in particular for my first ever interview. I had absolutely no idea what I was walking into when I sat down with Agnes Furey, but 2 hours later I felt comfortable with interviewing someone else. She really helped me through the process. Prior to meeting with her I did some research and read a few different articles on her past. Shes an active supporter of restorative justice, and that was primarily what I was going in to talk to her about, but I didnt really know what restorative justice was. This internship put me in a situation where I needed to familiarize myself with a topic I was unfamiliar with in a very short amount of time. I also learned how to go about even approaching a person to ask for an interview, which isnt really as straightforward as it seems. I think one of the most important things I learned from this internship, one of the many, was how to talk to others in an appropriate manner based on their relationship to me. It also brought to my attention that I need to improve on my own personal communication skills. One thing that was difficult was just speaking to Agnes, and my lack of confidence in the questions I was asking made me lack credibility as a writer. Through my interview with her, I gained some other contacts who had knowledge pertaining to the topic I was writing about. Many phone interviews were held with various people who could give me further insight into life in Frenchtown. I was even supposed to meet up with another person to interview them at FAMU, but those plans fell through. I was also going to attend an interview Joe was going to have with the Tallahassee Police Department regarding the cop who tased a woman a couple of months ago when he found out he was also tied to a story that occurred in Frenchtown. I was really excited to attend that interview and I could tell that Joe was excited for me as well, unfortunately at the last minute TPD backed out of the interview. Deadlines were sometimes difficult but attainable. A week before the issue was supposed to come out, Joe emailed me asking me to write a series of mini articles, ranging somewhere between 400 and 600 words each. I had a lot going on with school but was excited to see how Id manage my time. Things like this happen all the time for writers, where publishers and editors ask at the last minute for something expecting a quick turnout. I was able to meet these deadlines but it definitely took a lot of discipline. With the feature article that I was writing as well, there were weekends when random conferences and meetings would spring up. This wasnt an internship like the previous one that I had where I reported to an office to work x amount of hours every day. This internship was solely my responsibility and all of the work and writing was to be done on my own, in my own time, at my own house. This definitely taught me a thing or two about time management, as Im someone who tends to procrastinate a bit. With meetings

happening spontaneously, though, I had to be on top of myself and my work so that I could go into them prepared and ready to discuss anything that I might have had questions about, or that my peers may have had suggestions about. Another responsibility I had was to attend events and conferences that were happening so that I could later report on them. This August, I attended the 3rd annual Frenchtown Heritage Festival. It was essential that I attended this event, as there was nobody else who could make it. This gave some perspective and context to the article I was writing, and added a completely different layer. When I attended the festival, I was alarmed by the turnout and lack of media coverage for the event, and when I spoke with Joe that was exactly the kind of stuff he was looking for. This internship made me realize my strengths and weaknesses coming into this field. There are things that I know I need to improve on, and Im hoping another few months writing for Capital City Villager will put that into practice. Im very happy with my internship experience at Capital City Villager. Ive really never worked with anything close to this, and Ive never had any of my writing actually published, so this gives me a great anchor to set me up in the field I wish to pursue. I graduate next week but I will be continuing to write for the magazine in the spring so as to further my experience. Ideally, Id like to move out of state in May and hopefully obtain a position writing for a magazine somewhere, even if just as an intern or contributing writer. I think this internship gives me the credibility I need as a writer to try to start making a name for myself, and Im happy with the opportunities its given me thus far. I also think its a great publication for Tallahassees arts scene and a very honest magazine that puts whats going on out there for the public to either take or not.