Name: Connor Foarde Major: Journalism Title of Internship: Newsroom Intern, Foreign Desk at The Washington Times Location: Washington, D.C.
Grady College: Briefly describe your internship and responsibilities:
Connor Foarde: My responsibilities included researching and writing stories about international politics and elections. I am also responsible for getting out of the newsroom to cover various events around Washington such as protests, congressional hearings, speeches and think tank events. I aim to put out at least two print articles a week along with however many “fast files” (which are essentially short summary stories using wire reports) I can get done during the day for the website.
GC: What is the biggest challenge you faced during your internship?
C.F.: The biggest challenge I’ve faced during my internship so far is trying to make and keep in contact with sources. I always try to follow up with a thank you email after talking with them. I’ve learned that it makes a huge difference on how sources perceive you.
GC: What was the best part about your summer internship?
C.F.: The best part about my summer internship is learning the fast-paced media arena in Washington D.C. This town is ideal for young, driven professionals and there is always something newsworthy going on. The connections you make in the city are invaluable as well. I’ve met members of Congress, television hosts and other professional journalists at mixers or just walking down the street. A handshake with someone you meet today could be an opened door down the road, so it’s good to keep your eyes peeled.
GC: What is the most memorable experience you had during your internship?
C.F.: The most memorable experience during my internship was having the chance to interview Wang Dan, an exiled Chinese dissident who helped lead the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests. Dan is an unsung hero of history who was imprisoned for more than 10 years for standing up to the Communist Party in China. I never thought that I would get to interview figures from history like Dan as a young intern, but it was a truly humbling experience and I am grateful for it.
GC: What was the biggest surprise in your internship (ie: is there anything you didn’t expect?)
C.F.: I personally did not expect to enjoy dressing professionally every day. I am usually a t-shirt and shorts kind of guy, so the idea of suits and ties every day was a little daunting. At first, you think “Well this is going to be a hassle,” but once you get into a routine of doing it you start to gain confidence in looking your best at all times. People notice a sharply dressed individual.
GC: What is the most valuable lesson or skill you learned during your internship?
C.F.: The most valuable skill I’ve learned from my internship is how to connect with experts on a certain topic. There is a vast realm of knowledgeable individuals at think tanks and universities across the country who are eager to share their insights to any journalist willing to reach out to their press team. It is an excellent resource for adding diverse perspectives to your reporting/writing.
GC: What advice would you give to a student looking for an internship?
C.F.: I would tell them to start looking and apply early. If you find an internship that is potentially up your alley, set a goal to complete the application and submit it within a reasonable period. Internships are always competitive and no opportunity will fall in your lap. GC: What part of your Grady education did you find most valuable during your internship?
C.F.: The news writing class with Dr. Tom Hudson was especially helpful in giving me a sense of how media outlets want materials written. Developing your writing skills is a lifelong process, so any sort of leg up you can get in college is essential. Dr. Jonathan Peter’s communication law class helped teach me the basics about The Freedom of Information Act requests, rights of access and video/photo taking laws – the importance of which cannot be emphasized enough for people who want to enter media.
GC: How will your summer internship affect the way you approach the rest of your time at UGA?
C.F.: I believe I will return to UGA not only with an enhanced global perspective from working on a foreign news desk but also a revitalized sense of self-confidence. Being pushed into the media world as an intern, one really needs to learn how to network and make professional introductions quickly and effectively. From my experience at my internship, I’ve learned that every hand I shake is not just a hand, but an opportunity chock full of potential.
GC: When you look back on your internship 10 years from now, what part of your summer internship do you expect to be most thankful for?
C.F.: Wherever I am in 10 years, I will always look back at my internship as my first venture into the professional career world. They told us at The Washington Times to never introduce ourselves as interns, and that one piece of advice helped me develop a professional persona early on during the summer. Overall, the insights and experience I’ve gained during my time in Washington, D.C. will linger in my mind as I go on to future endeavors.