In August 2012, I was mentally preparing for a grueling semester. I would be taking Reporting Public Affairs, one of those classes that upperclassmen mentioned with hushed voices and wide eyes.
“Oh boy…you better quit your day job. This one’s a doozy,” some said.
That month, I received an email from my soon-to-be RPA professor Barb Hipsman.
“PAID NEWS INTERNSHIP AVAILABLE!” the subject line read.
It had my attention. The first internship I had with sportsink.com paid, but not very handsomely. The second, at Cleveland Magazine, didn’t pay at all. I was in the proverbial “hole” because of all those drives out to Cleveland. I was ready to rack up my savings again.
So I gave Barb a call. I asked her what this news internship was all about. She told me I would be working directly with the Akron Beacon Journal as well as the Youngstown Vindicator. Bylines flashed before my eyes. “I’ll do it,” I told her.
We went to the first meeting in Youngstown just a few days later, and then we had story assignments. It was election season, and we’d be covering undecided voters.
The hardest part was finding someone who was undecided. It seemed anyone I asked shot back with a, “Psh, no,” and then lectured me for 30 minutes about either the Republican or Democratic party.
Finally, a Kent State University student responded to Barb’s Facebook post asking for undecided voters, and I scheduled an interview with Kate DeMay.