A real-world experience

I’ve been working to become a journalist for the past three years. My entire college career has been focused on preparing for this point in my life and while I think that my program prepared me for how a professional newsroom would run, I didn’t quite feel like a journalist.

I had doubts about how I’d make it in the real world, despite the shiny new diploma on my wall. But all these doubts disappeared as I began my internship here at the Kirkland Reporter and Bothell/Kenmore Reporter.

I am generally against requiring students to work an internship in order to graduate. The internships are often unpaid, but we’re supposedly “paid” in college credit, which costs us a few hundred dollars per credit.

But this internship changed my mind because it gave me the real-world experience I was missing and gave me confidence in my own work. I now think that these internships can be a huge impact on how prepared a student is for their career.

I first started my student-journalist career in high school working as a staff reporter for a local community college newspaper. This got my feet wet and I found a passion for journalism while I was looking for something to do with my life.

Immediately, after starting my first year at Central Washington University (CWU), I joined the Observer, the school’s student-run publication, as a staff reporter. I worked my way up over my two years there and eventually became the editor-in-chief after holding four other positions.

None of these positions emulated the experience I’ve had at this paper. I now know exactly what to expect in my career and I feel ready for anything.

I hit the ground running when I started my internship. I was officially only hired on for the Kirkland Reporter, but the same team also produces the Bothell/Kenmore Reporter. The two publications cover three different cities, which kept me busy from the start.

I think this situation was perfect for me because I felt like I hadn’t experienced what a real reporter would go through, despite my experience in college.

My editor, Samantha Pak, always made me feel welcome and kept the newsroom laidback despite the stress of two publications on her shoulders. I worked well with her and Megan Campbell, the other reporter on our team, and received a lot of respect.

This internship gave me the feeling of freedom in my work. We have such a small staff that I was given a lot of responsibility with my work and I’m really proud of the stories I was able to produce.

I think the opportunities and freedom I received were specific to the Kirkland and Bothell/Kenmore Reporters. I believe I would’ve had much less responsibility at a larger paper with a larger staff. I’m happy to say that my editor trusted me with my stories and didn’t hold my hand.

This isn’t to say the editorial staff wasn’t helpful. The newsroom was consistently team focused as the Kirkland and Bothell/Kenmore Reporters share an office with the Redmond Reporter, which also only has a single reporter and single editor.

The three publications often had overlapping coverage because the four cities are close and the two staffs helped each other with articles and reporting.

This entire experience has been wonderful for me and I’m sad to have to leave. I’d be happy to take on a full-time position here. Samantha and Megan said they’re also sad to see me go as they’re losing one third of their staff, but I’m sure they’ll find another intern to fill this spot soon enough.

I’m proud to have been a part of this team for the past 10 weeks. I’ve written some of my favorite articles here and I can’t wait to see what comes next. Thanks to all the staff here at the Kirkland, Bothell/Kenmore and Redmond Reporters, you’ve taught me a lot and helped me feel ready for the rest of my life. I finally feel like a journalist.

Kailan Manandic interned for the Bothell/Kenmore Reporter and Kirkland Reporter over the summer and is a graduating senior at Central Washington University.

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