Reflection: The Philadelphia Inquirer

This is part of series of posts by recipients of the 2020 Career Services Summer Funding Grant. We’ve asked funding recipients to reflect on their summer experiences and talk about the industries in which they spent their summer. You can read the entire series here.

This entry is by Hadriana Lowenrkon, COL ’22

This summer, I was afforded the incredible opportunity to intern at The Philadelphia Inquirer as a news reporter. As an aspiring journalist, it was my dream to obtain an internship at a daily paper, and to learn from editors and reporters at such a prominent paper was icing on the cake. I am enormously grateful for the funding which Career Services provided, because in an industry where unpaid internships are frowned upon, I would otherwise not have been able to
take advantage of this opportunity at all.

Coming into the internship, I had no idea what to expect. Would I be coddled? Left with no direction or attention? Would I get to pitch my own stories? Or would I do more shadowing? But it was the perfect combination. On just my second day — after a day of orientation — I was sent out to cover three protests, back-to-back, pertaining to the worldwide fight against systemic racism. If my internship was only that day, I would have been fulfilled.

While the coronavirus naturally prevented me from experiencing the typical bustling newsroom atmosphere, as well as maintaining lasting relationships with peer interns (there were only five of us as opposed to the usual twenty, and we were located across the country), my editor made sure I had full access to all the reporters and editors in the newsroom, and made it clear that anybody I wanted to meet, work with, or learn more from was just a simple Slack message away.

From working with the myriad hardworking and talented staff, I improved my ability to pitch stories, find sources, scout unique angles, make my writing concise and easy to digest, and write/edit in partnership with other people. I gained experience in breaking news as well as longer, more investigative pieces. I met incredible people while reporting, and I can’t express my gratitude enough for the opportunity to have told their stories.

These past few months have been simultaneously some of the hardest, yet most rewarding months for me, as I continue to navigate my role both as a Black woman overwhelmed by emotion each time one of her own is killed just for living, and as a journalist who must remain objective and thoughtful in reporting on and editing such personal topics. This internship, largely because of the one-on-one conversations I was able to have with fellow Black and non-Black journalists and editors, has helped me find community. It has also given me tools I feel will greatly benefit me, and which I hope to bring back to our student newspaper, The Daily Pennsylvanian, in an effort to improve our coverage of the University as a whole and particularly our communities of color.

I hope to use this internship as a stepping stone to a future career in the industry, and I look forward to honing my reporting, writing, and editing skills that I strengthened this summer throughout the year. Thank you again for this amazing opportunity.

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