Internship Log: Getting Beyond the Who, What, When and Where and Getting to the Why

So I’ve been a naughty blogger the past month. I have plenty of excuses (moving into a new place, hectic work schedules, no money and having less time off) but at the end of the day, I’m not helping anyone by neglecting this blog. I’ve seen tons of blogs that began with regular posts, then petered out and were eventually abandoned. I don’t want that to happen with this blog. I’ve learned a ton about my writing voice just by blogging on a regular basis. It’s been incredibly refreshing to get away from what media critic Jay Rosen calls the “Voice from Nowhere”: essentially the journalistic cult that worships impartiality to a fault. While I’m not arguing that professionally-trained journalists are unnecessary (because that means I’ve made a huge mistake), I’ve caught myself identifying and at least attempting to stop my own bad journalistic habits.

As an intern, it can be a challenge to derive a greater meaning to a story because many of the stories that I’ve worked on in the past few weeks are either one-day stories, quick website updates or event coverage. More often than not, I only have enough time to work on the who, what, when and where, when I’m more interested in the why. Like I said before, it’s not like this a startling revelation to me – I didn’t expect to be thrust into into a kind of hardcore, Woodward-and-Bernstein-type reporting my first week on the job.

But I will admit that it can be difficult to go under the surface and really dig for a unique spin day after day, week after week. Sometimes it works out, like a story I wrote about the city’s annual Juneteenth celebration. Rather than do a typical, by-the-numbers event coverage, I tried to tie the event’s historical background of celebrating the end of slavery to a connection between the holiday and racism in Nevada, and it turned out ok. But for every story that tries to find a deeper meaning, I’ll end up with another story like this one, with little analysis and kind of boring.

It’s maddening to know that I possess the capacity to write at a level above boring event coverage, but seem to find myself falling back into those bad habits again and again. To be honest, the layover between quitting the Sagebrush and beginning this internship probably ‘softened’ me up a little bit in regards to producing lots of content in a short amount of time. But as the weeks go on, and I settle more into a rhythm of reporting and writing, I believe that I’ll create and find better stories. After all, it’s easy to make excuses (especially for not updating a blog), but none of that really matters. What matters are the results.