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Eight journalism students complete summer 2023 internships

July 14, 2023

This summer, eight journalism students have been working in newsrooms across Maryland and Delaware.  The Reese Cleghorn Internship program hires outstanding student journalists to intern in MDDC member newsrooms each summer.  Again this year, MDDC is administering Delaware Community Foundation’s Internship program.  Summer internships were made possible through funding from the Delaware Community Foundation, the MDDC Press Foundation, Betty Osborne in memory of Burl Osborne, individual donors to the Jim Schurz Memorial Fund, and The Nutting Family Foundation

These interns were selected from a pool of highly qualified applicants.  Interns come from six schools, including the University of Maryland, Hofstra University, University of Pittsburgh, Clemson University, Oberlin College, and Georgetown University.  The intern selection committee, comprised of Ann LoLordo, of Jhpiego, Diana Sugg, freelance journalist, Sam Davis of the Baltimore Sun, Tom Linthicum of MDDC Press Foundation, and Larry Nagengast, mentor for the Delaware Community Foundation interns, reviewed more than two dozen initial applications, which included a personal essay, published clips and educational and professional references.  The committee narrowed the field and conducted a panel interview with each candidate. 

Each intern was immersed in their host newsroom and treated as a professional working journalist.  Students in the program are expected to generate 35-40 published clips and real-world experience during their 8-week paid internship.  As part of the program, interns participate in a one-day briefing on how to get the most out of the internship.  MDDC has revamped its summer webinar series to focus on covering communities that are not your own, and developing sources and telling stories that are authentic to those communities. Presenters from the Dart Center and Maynard Institute will anchor that series, which begins Monday, July 31.  Click here for more information about the series, which is open to all.  In addition to the customary newsroom supports, interns were also partnered with mentors, who offered guidance outside the newsroom and coaches who focused on writing skills.

The interns are (in alphabetical order): Jenna Bloom, University of Maryland (funded by MDDC Press Foundation); Shifra Dayak, University of Maryland (funded by the Nutting Family Foundation);  Bryce Jenkins, Hofstra University (funded by Delaware Community Foundation); Eli Kales, Georgetown University (funded by MDDC Press Foundation); James Paul, University of Pittsburgh (funded by Jim Shurz Memorial Fund); Cal Ransom, Oberlin College (funded by Delaware Community Foundation); Justin Robertson, Clemson University (funded by MDDC Press Foundation); Victoria Stavish, University of Maryland (funded by Betty Osborne in memory of Burl Osborne).

Jenna Bloom is entering her senior year at the University of Maryland College Park. She has worked at the Diamondback student newspaper in a variety of roles. One of her references writes, “Jenna is smart, focused, ambitious, engaged, and curious. She functions well under deadline pressures and always responds to critiques and direction well.” She interned at MoCo360, under the supervision of Anne Tallent. Jenna was supported this summer by her coach, Paul Milton and her mentor, Laura Walter.

Shifra Dayak is a senior at the University of Maryland who will interned with The Frederick News-Post under the supervision of Andy Schotz. Shifra previously interned at Stars and Stripes and was most recently the assistant news editor at The Diamondback, UMD’s student newspaper. One of her references remarked that “Shifra has the true drive of a reporter. She knows where to find stories and how to track down sources. She writes quickly but accurately. She’s always on top of her work, despite having to balance a full class load.” Rick Hutzell was her writing coach, and Denise Rolark Barnes was her mentor.

Bryce Jenkins is a rising senior at Hofstra University, and is majoring in Graphic Design with a minor in Marketing. He interned with The News Journal in Wilmington under the supervision of Mike Feeley. Bryce’s focus is photography and he has taken shots for his school newspaper and its website. Tom Klinkowstein, one of Bryce’s professors, writes that “Bryce is an exceptional learner and doer – always constructively curious and hungry for a challenge.” He was supported by Larry Nagengast as both writing coach and mentor.

Eli Kales is a rising senior at Georgetown University, majoring in Psychology with a journalism minor. Eli interned with The Daily Record, under the supervision of Patrick Brannan. He has balanced his journalism course load with writing and editing the student newspaper, The Hoya. His editor at The Hoya writes, “As the City Desk Editor, Eli worked to produce four to five pieces per week about local news outside of Georgetown University’s front gates; his work was especially important because city stories serve to connect the Georgetown community to local current events.” Eli was supported in his internship by Steven Overly as a mentor and Rick Hutzell as writing coach.

James Paul is a rising sophomore at University of Pittsburgh, double majoring in Public/Professional Writing and Politics/Philosophy. He is a writer for the student newspaper, The Pitt News and interned under the supervision of Joe Deinlein at the Herald-Mail in Hagerstown. Brittany Hailer, one of James’ journalism professors, says “The kid is driven. Takes feedback well. And isn’t afraid to ask the tough questions.” All qualities that served him well during his internship. In addition to his newsroom hosts, James was supported by Ginger Thompson as mentor and Paul Milton as writing coach.

Cal Ransom is a rising junior at Oberlin College, where they will graduate with a degree in Sociology with a Journalism concentration and have steadily worked at the student newspaper, the Oberlin College Review. They interned at WHYY Radio through the Delaware Community Foundation program. Cal wrote in their application “I left Delaware for college before I was able to truly engage in the community as I would want to today. Using my place as an audio journalist, I want to bring myself into the community and help tell the stories that matter to Delawareans now.” Through this internship, with the support of their host newsroom and mentor / coach Larry Nagengast, Cal has reported on important issues that matter to the community.

Justin Robertson is a rising senior at Clemson University, balancing writing for ClemsonWire, part of USA Today’s Sports Media Group, and freelancing for the Seneca Journal with his Sports Communication major and Psychology minor.  He interned with The Daily Times in Salisbury under the supervision of Mike Feeley.  One of his professors, Wanda Johnson Stokes, says that Justin “creates and delivers top-notch content and always produces on time. As sports editor for The Tiger newspaper, he leads staff reporters with distinction and honor as students rely on his guidance as a team leader and player.”  Justin rounded out his internship team with mentoring from Jack Hogan and coaching on his writing from Paul Milton.  

Victoria Stavish is a rising senior at the University of Maryland, College Park where she majors in Journalism with a minor in Information Science. Some of her previous internships combined data analysis with reporting and she was the first and only data reporter at The Diamondback, the student-run newspaper of the University. Victoria’s desire to be a journalist stems from her youth in a rural Ohio town where there was no local news source. She wrote in her application, “Data and visual journalism is important to me because it helps us understand where the local aspect falls in the big picture.” Victoria got the opportunity to emphasize local news by interning with the Baltimore Sun under the supervision of Sam Davis. She was supported in her internship by her mentor, Ann LoLordo and her writing coach, Rick Hutzell.

Congratulations to MDDC’s interns!  Interested in becoming an intern in 2024?  The application period is open from September to November.  Read more about the program here.

The Reese Cleghorn internship program is part of the MDDC Press Foundation, which is funded in part through donations from private individuals.  Learn more or make a tax-deductible gift to the Foundation.

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