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Matt Von Pinnon, Published July 17 2011

Von Pinnon: Interns help remind us why we got into journalism

Every year at The Forum, we welcome several paid summer interns.

While the interns always learn a lot during their stay, and do exactly the same kind of work that our professionals do, we benefit from them as well.

Today’s youth, and what they’re interested in, helps us see fresh perspectives. They also push us to question some long-held ways of doing things.

But perhaps most importantly, they consistently remind us of why we got interested in our professions to begin with and why we’re so lucky to do this work for a living.

Here’s a look at this year’s outstanding crop:

Danielle Cintron

Home: LaPlace, La.

College: Graduates this fall from Louisiana Tech University, Ruston

Focus: Journalism and English

Wants to do: Foreign or combat correspondence

What her reporting internship has taught her so far, in her words: “Otter Tail” is two words in every instance except one: Ottertail is also a town in Minnesota.

Josie Clarey

Home: Bridgewater, S.D.

College: Junior at the University of South Dakota, Vermillion

Focus: English education; minors in journalism and Spanish

Wants to do: Teach high school English and work as the teacher/adviser for a school newspaper, but first explore journalism and get more experience

What her reporting internship has taught her so far, in her words: It’s given me the opportunity to see how I might fit in at a newspaper. It’s made me realize how diverse the positions and parts of the job are.

Stephanie Fail

Home: Boston

College: Senior at the University of Massachusetts, Boston

Focus: Anthropology

Wants to do: International multimedia journalism; travel by boat around the world

What her reporting internship has taught her so far, in her words: I feel more in touch with being American because I am being exposed to the people who live in its heartland. All this Viking culture is new to me, and very interesting! It has allowed me to write for a huge audience while learning a lot about the do’s and don’ts of writing for the public.

Chris Franz

Home: Mandan, N.D., and Fargo

College: Graduates this fall from Minnesota State University Moorhead

Focus: Mass communications and photojournalism

Wants to do: Photojournalism for a while, preferably for newspapers. I always like to have some sort of long-term/documentary project in the works as well. I am also thinking about grad school so I can eventually teach.

What his photography internship has taught him so far, in his words: This being my second internship, there haven’t been any surprises with the job. This job is more about giving me an experience of what it’s like to be a photographer in a newsroom.

Ben Karkela

Home: Grand Rapids and Savage, Minn.; West Fargo

College: Graduated from Minnesota State University Moorhead

Focus: Mass communications with an emphasis in print journalism

Wants to do: Work as a journalist, but plans to start his career as an English teacher in Japan

What his sports reporting internship has taught him so far, in his words: I’ve discovered what it takes to be a professional journalist. I learned how to write captivating and informative stories, all on a deadline. It isn’t always easy, but it’s exciting.

Emma Murray

Home: Council Bluffs, Iowa

College: Sophomore at the University of South Dakota, Vermillion

Focus: English, journalism and women’s studies

Wants to do: International correspondent or freelance writer; join the Peace Corps after college

What her reporting internship has taught her so far, in her words: It has given me a more accurate depiction of what a career in print journalism/a daily newspaper will be like. From that, I’ve learned how much I enjoy the upbeat nature of the job – there’s always something new to cover.

Michael Smith

Home: Oak Park, Ill., and Fargo

College: Graduated from Minnesota State University Moorhead

Focus: Mass communications with an emphasis in online journalism and graphic communications

Wants to do: Sports writing or page design at a newspaper or magazine

What his sports reporting internship has taught him so far, in his words: I have really learned to write on a deadline. Many of my assignments have had late starts or run late and I have been crunched for time.


Von Pinnon is editor of The Forum. Reach him at (701) 241-5579.