Why Managing Interns is Probably the Best Part of My Job

January 24, 2018 The Washington Center

Kathleen Struck Receiving the Internship Supervisor of the Semester Award

VOA Digital Managing Editor, Kathleen Struck, shares why she loves working with the next generation of superb journalists.

The news is hard. Aleppo. Political conflict. Starving polar bears on isolated ice floes. Add to that a crisis in journalism: Be it a lack of objectivity, a distrust by the public, or revenue so diminished that the press corps is as thin as the polar bears.

So when I meet every morning with my TWC interns, my worldview shifts. The heavy curtain of uncertainty is pulled back, and I am reminded why my favorite part of the day is when I am with the next generation of superb journalists.

Rebecca reminds me of editing that needs to be done for an article she whipped up overnight about a trending topic. Arnella files another thoughtful observation about social issues. We chide Brittney about her frown as she synthesizes the latest political news.

Interns are not for fetching coffee or posting endless social media because staff cannot navigate a Facebook account. In my shop, they are equal partners in the creation and promotion of our new online community for international students who study or want to study in the U.S., VOA Student Union.

They do not help: They drive.

Millennials and the Gen X group that follows are an attractive market for many sellers. They have a critical mass that already has supplanted Baby Boomers who brought us to where we are today. They will soon dictate their and our futures, rather than the generation of their parents.

I witness daily why that is a welcome direction.

Millennials have been advised to steer clear of the career path of journalism and communications. So that means my interns are the undaunted, the intrepid, the dogged. In journalism -- especially now as fake news and bias are boldly distributed and consumed -- those qualities are not just essential, but brave.

One last characteristic about my interns that has delighted me this semester is their ability to work together as a group. In our building in the shadow of Capitol Hill, they bolster each other’s confidence by sharing duties based on their individual strengths. They encourage and support. They move in circles that allow each other to shine independently, and yet as a group, they are powerful.

During this holiday break, the office is quieter. Too quiet. I am sorrowfully counting the days we have left together.

Kathleen Struck received the Fall 2016 Semester Outstanding Internship Site Supervisor award. Struck was nominated by three of her interns: Rebeca Hankins from Emerson College, Arnelia Sandy from Dean College and Brittney Welch from Stockton University.

About the Author

The Washington Center

The Washington Center is the largest and most established student internship program in Washington, D.C. Since our founding, we've helped more than 60,000 young people translate their college majors into career paths. We use our scale and expertise to customize each student’s experience to be truly transformative.

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