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This is a weekly newsletter for Gather, a project + platform to support community-minded journalists and other engagement professionals. We’d love your feedback. What's useful about this newsletter? What's missing? Let us know

In this week's newsletter:

  • INTERNSHIPS: Rock this summer with tips for managers and interns.

  • CASE STUDY: Read how Capital Public Radio uses first-person narrative documentaries to share in-depth community stories.

  • JOB ALERT: The University of Kansas is looking for a Knight Chair in Audience and Community Engagement for News.

  • HOT READ: Police raided a reporter's home after he declined to reveal a source.

  • INTROS: Meet Em Okrepkie, a member of the growth team at The Christian Science Monitor.

Making the most of summer internships: Four tips for both managers and interns

By Taylor Blatchford, Seattle Times

Summer internships are an important step for many journalism students’ careers. They give a taste of professional journalism, introduce students to new areas and create connections.

I was an intern in three newsrooms before starting my current job at The Seattle Times, and each of those experiences shaped my abilities and journalism goals. I currently write a newsletter for student journalists in college and high school and assist with the Times’ internship program.

How can you make the summer internship experience as valuable as possible, whether you’re a manager or an incoming intern? Here are a few tips to make the most of the summer, curated from the Gather community and from my personal experience.

For managers:

  1. Early on, ask your intern what they hope to accomplish in the summer and set goals together. Do they want to learn more about a certain topic or try out a specific beat? Laying these out will help both of you build a plan for the best experience.
  2. Help interns build connections relevant to their interests and career goals. Entering a professional newsroom as an intern is intimidating, and so is asking a journalist you admire to grab coffee. Use your own expertise and connections to introduce them to others.
  3. Be transparent about topics like newsroom culture and the realities of professional journalism. One of my most valuable intern experiences was a roundtable with women in the Charlotte Observer newsroom, who talked with female interns about negotiating sexism and standing up for themselves in professional environments.
  4. Help your interns feel like a cohort and provide development opportunities. Whether you have an formalized intern program or just a small group, any opportunity for those connections (brown bag lunches, training sessions, after-work outings) will be appreciated.

For interns:
  1. Take advantage of your title and flexibility, Lauren Katz wrote on Twitter. “Ask questions. Grab coffee with people whose work you admire. Sit in on meetings and tapings and video shoots. Soak up as much as you can about everything you can.”
  2. Say “yes” to even the smallest tasks. Proving your reliability will help managers trust you with larger ones. “Taking on the grunt work often gets a bad rap, but in reality you get to tack your name on to a lot of amazing projects just by being available for assignment,” Lovey Cooper wrote on Slack.
  3. Talk with your manager early on about your goals and interests. You’ll probably never have more flexibility than you do as an intern — if you want to shadow other departments or learn about things that aren’t in your job description, let your manager know.
  4. Don’t be afraid to pitch projects and ideas: You want to come away from your internship with a few work samples you’re really proud of and can use in the future. But be realistic with what you can accomplish in the limited time you have, and try to wrap up loose ends before your internship ends.

This Gather Slack thread was the inspiration for this post. Feel free to contribute additional tips there.

Taylor Blatchford, Seattle Times news producer and creator of The Lead newsletter

How Cap Radio Uses First-Person Narrative Documentaries to Share In-Depth Community Stories

By Mary Anne Funk

Capital Public Radio's The View From Here uses a documentary unit as a capacity building project for reporters in a radio newsroom. The documentaries are each an hour long and tell the stories of three unique people or families, woven together to show how different people deal with a similar social justice issue. The format allows the stories to get beyond headlines and into the real lives of people who are personally affected, rather than just relying on statistics or empirical data. The large challenges of skilled staffing, team building, and marketing were overcome to make this a success.


Read the case study on Gather.

You can now publicly share the 97 case studies and featured projects on Gather with friends and colleagues. Take a look through, and then recommend projects you’d like to see us dig into.


Lightning Chats

Lightning chats are 30-minute video chats in which we (and by that we mean anyone!) discuss a shared challenge, brainstorm ideas for a project, or learn more about a case study. Peruse our archive of chats (including video replays) on Gather. You can also subscribe to a lightning chat calendar on Google calendar or on iCal. Here's what's coming up:
  • TODAY! May 15 at 1 pm ET // Teaching SEO best practices: What are best practices for newsrooms around SEO concepts these days? And what should you do if you're charged with sharing them with the rest of your newsroom? In this chat, we'll learn from:
    • Nicole Barton of KQED (and previously of YouTube)
    • Adriana Lacy of the LA Times
    • Jessica Lee Martin of CityLab
UPDATE: The panelists have so much to share that we extended the chat to one hour. Join when you can and leave when you need to! As always, we'll share the notes, slide deck and video recap afterwards.

Join us on Zoom at 1 pm ET / 10 am PT for a 1-hour conversation. Click here to add this to your Google Calendar.

Jobs, Fellowships, and Funding

Check out our full list of jobs, fellowships, and funding opportunities on Gather, and let us know what we're missing.

Knight Chair in Audience and Community Engagement for News, University of Kansas: “The Knight Chair in Audience and Community Engagement for News will be a leader in helping media connect with various audiences and will have a keen understanding of emerging trends and demographics related to media use in various markets. The successful candidates also will understand impact metrics, the developing role of public/private partnerships to maintain expertise in the newsroom, and be curious about future collaborations in news gathering and dissemination with students, professionals and the public.” Learn more.


Community Updates

If you haven't joined the Gather Slack community, you're missing out on a lot of brainstorming, advice giving and collaboration. Join here.
  • Newsletter stats: We did a re-engagement push for this newsletter last week. And we love transparency here at Gather, so we thought we’d share some data. We sent a “should we unsubscribe you” email to 339 people, asking them to click to stay on the list if desired. 28.3% opened (95 people) and 12.7% clicked to stay on the list (43 people). The remaining 296 were taken off the list. How does that compare to typical efforts? Here’s what we heard from members of the #newsletters Slack channel.
  • Getting to know each other: Besides our weekly member introductions in this newsletter, a quick way Gatherers learn a bit about each other happens on Fridays on Slack. We share highlights from our week, either personal or professional. Last week’s thread included a member’s 40-mile bike ride.  
  • Hot Read: "A reporter declined to reveal his source. Then police showed up at his front door with guns." by Eli Rosenberg at The Washington Post. (This is the Gather community's most-shared story on Twitter this week. Look for other 'hot reads' in Friday's Nuzzel newsletter and in the #reads channel on the Gather Slack.)

Meet Em Okrepkie, this week's Featured Member.

Name: Em Okrepkie

What you do: I’m a member of the growth team at The Christian Science Monitor. I work to reach new audiences through social and search channels. I also spend a good deal of time using email to reach readers through both newsletters and one-off communications.

Why you’re on Gather: Inspiration! I’m in awe of the work others are doing, and I usually open the Slack channel when I’m looking for a mental boost. I appreciate the shared language and understanding everyone seems to have around engagement work. I’m not exclusively in the editorial space, but I do think it’s table stakes for a business team to understand how their journalism serves their community. If we’re not engaging with our readers and using their feedback to determine our next steps, we’re doing them and ourselves a disservice.

One thing you want to learn on Gather: I’ve been thinking a lot recently about the best ways to involve readers in conversations about Monitor journalism. I was a member of the team that created our first Facebook group, and I think the Monitor has a ton of room to grow in creating feedback loops that help both our journalism and our readers.

One thing you have to share on Gather: I started out at the Monitor working almost exclusively on email campaigns, and I love geeking out about newsletters and email strategy. I spearheaded a popup newsletter last fall, and I learned a ton in the process. I’m always looking for an excuse to talk about building audiences or producing newsletters from a tactical and technical perspective, which isn’t the most glamorous but is definitely an important part of the process.

One thing about your work that gets you especially pumped up: The prospect of reaching new audiences and then deepening their relationship with our journalism is thrilling to me. A great day at work means I’ve talked to readers about how Monitor journalism has had an impact on them, and it’s exciting to think about how I can be a part of increasing that impact.

Who or what inspired you to get into this work? I grew up in a house where my parents read the newspaper every morning. I always knew I wanted to be a part of the news business, but I didn’t always know what that would look like. I spent a summer working at the International Center for Journalists, and that’s when I realized I wanted to be a part of providing support for quality journalism. I’m in the process of getting my MBA because I’d like to be a bridge between editorial and business teams as independent news organizations work toward financial stability.

Would you rather ... work in chaos or quiet? Chaos. I’m always in search of a bustling coffee shop to spend the day, and I’m a fan of excitement. I have to admit, though, I just invested in noise-cancelling headphones. I guess I love to work in chaos as long as I can listen to Lizzo while I think.

Links for ways to connect with you.
Twitter: @EmOkrep
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