Grady InternViews: Libby Hobbs

Grady InternViews: Libby Hobbs

June 25, 2024

This is part of a series where we ask Grady College students to describe their internship experience.  

Libby Hobbs is a fourth-year journalism major and reporter with Atlanta Civic Circle through the Atlanta Press Club internship program. Read on as she provides insight into what this internship looks like.

Briefly describe your internship and its associated responsibilities.

Atlanta Civic Circle is a community-oriented and solutions-focused news organization with three major coverage points (or, civic circles): housing, labor and democracy. This summer, I’m covering democracy, the 2024 elections and housing. We don’t report breaking news — instead, we break down the follow-up resources and information needed for the metro-Atlanta community to engage with local news. 

How did you find out about this internship?

The Red & Black has a host of former Atlanta Press Club interns, including Maddy Franklin (AB ’22), Lu Warnke (AB ’24) and Liz Rymarev (AB ’24). All of them directed me toward this internship, but Liz — who was also The Red & Black 2023-2024 Editor—in—Chief — spoke highly about Atlanta Civic Circle in particular. And, now, Atlanta Civic Circle has had back-to-back Red & Black Editors—in—Chief.

What opportunities did you have during your internship?

I covered the June 18 runoff elections in DeKalb County for our live blog. I went to several polling places and asked voters what issues brought them to the polls. I’ve also gotten to expand my connections through Atlanta Press Club events.

What skills and knowledge have you gained from your internship?

I’ve learned how to get out of my comfort zone. It’s easier to craft stories in Athens because I’m immersed into that community. But, the work I’m doing in Atlanta is harder, especially since I’ve never lived here before. I often nudge myself a little more to strike up a conversation. Atlanta Civic Circle is also more casual in their storytelling, which has exposed me to new writing styles. 

What is one work you are proud of creating in this role?

 I wrote about ranked-choice voting as one of my first few bylines. I interviewed Atlanta residents to gauge whether they had heard of this electoral system before — many hadn’t. So, it was cool to know that my story was at the forefront of a budding conversation.

The Atlanta Press Club interns met at Your Third Spot in Atlanta on Monday, June 17, 2024.
(Photo: Atlanta Press Club)

How did you balance your internship while being in college?

My current internship with Atlanta Civic Circle is for the summer, and I’m not taking any summer classes. But, I interned with Vinyl Magazine throughout the spring 2024 semester while also working at The Red & Black as the news editor — Google Calendar is a life saver. But, remember to give yourself breaks and get sleep! If your work isn’t productive, it’s time to take a step away.

What challenges have you overcome in this role?

I’ve struggled to adjust to this new environment. I had a large pool of people and communities at UGA, but I’m having to rebuild that now. Your first internship away from “home” is hard — and, for me at least, especially so because mine is mostly remote. But, I’ve also discovered new personal and career aspirations in my time spent alone. I think the confusion and anxiety bundled with summer internships is normal when navigating the final years of college.

How has the Grady curriculum you’ve taken prepared you for this internship?

My ability to work a camera and knowledge of AP Style has already come in clutch! Knowing how to do photojournalism from our courses and then further taking the initiative to use those skills (even if not asked) has impressed my editors. I was also told that I had a clear writing style and impressive AP Style understanding, which is all thanks to The Red & Black and my Grady classes.

Who is one Grady Professor who has inspired you? 

There are simply so many, so I must name them all. Lori Johnston is my go-to person if I want to nerd out on AP Style and get feedback on a story. Mark Johnson helps me see moments and capture them in ways that I couldn’t before. Keith Herndon helps me know I’m on the right path, and Amanda Bright reminds me where to have my eyes focused next. And, I only wish to be half as cool as Dodie Cantrell and Jonathan Peters when I grow up. Through our many conversations in the hallways or at various events, they’ve all inspired me into being the compassionate and courageous journalist I am today!

Hobbs with Ellis Goud and Avni Trivedi at The Red & Black spring banquet on Thursday, April 25, 2024.
(Photo: Sophie Ralph)

What advice would you give to someone looking to apply to similar internships?

Take risks, and never sell yourself short. It takes tenacity to apply to an internship in the first place, so you should be confident in your skills and ability to learn. Lean into your connections and take initiative — set up a meeting with previous interns or other reporters at the news organization that you have eyes on. Ask questions, and prove that you don’t just know how but also why you do what you do.

How has this internship influenced your future career?

It reaffirmed the kind of reporting I want to do and the newsroom I want to be in. Atlanta Civic Circle allowed me to collaborate on ideas and ask difficult questions, like “what is one thing the media often misunderstands about you?” These kinds of questions inform the depth of impactful storytelling that I want to make a career out of.