#GradyInternDiaries: Alex Soderstrom

This is part of a series where we asked Grady College students to describe their internship experiences during the summer.

Major: Journalism

Company: Atlanta Business Chronicle

Location: Atlanta, Georgia

Soderstrom poses for a picture with former Atlanta Hawk Dikembe Mutombo after interviewing him about his latest business investment.
Soderstrom poses for a picture with former Atlanta Hawk Dikembe Mutombo after interviewing him about his latest business investment.

Responsibilities: Over the summer, I worked as an editorial intern for the Atlanta Business Chronicle. During my two months at the Chronicle, I was able to write several stories for the newspaper and website, serve as a copy editor for the paper and shadow reporters on various assignments.

What is the biggest challenge you faced in your internship?

I had no experience in business reporting before this internship and never thought this was an area of journalism I would ever work in. Most of my reporting experience was covering sports for The Red and Black. It was an adjustment shifting my focus from stats and scores to dollar amounts. Ultimately, however, I learned journalism, at its core, requires the same skills no matter what you are covering.

What was the best part about your summer internship?

The editors at the Chronicle really gave me the opportunity to prove what I could do. The reporters and editors were more than happy to help me out or give me advice when needed, but there was no hand holding. I was challenged with as many stories as I could handle. My last story, about apparel sponsorships in college sports, was a 1,000-plus word story I pitched to my editor. He encouraged me to go for it. I was happy to see the Chronicle trust me enough to allow me to pursue my own stories.

What is the most valuable lesson or skill you learned during your internship?

I did more source cultivating and cold calling in my two months at the Chronicle than ever before. Day-to-day sports reporting typically revolves around media availabilities at practices and press conferences. Business reporting, however, is almost entirely enterprise. The ability to find sources and get a hold of them is a crucial journalistic skill, and I’m thankful my internship gave me the ability to practice it.

What advice would you give a student looking for an internship?

Don’t write off an internship because it’s different than what you’re used to. I was awarded this internship through the Atlanta Press Club’s program, which pairs you with a media organization in Atlanta. I didn’t know what to expect working at a business publication, but the exposure to a different area of journalism was great. It not only diversifies you as a reporter, but it can possibly change the way you think about your career path.

How did your internship help confirm your desired career path or make you re-evaluate what you want to do in the future?

As much as I loved working at the Chronicle, I did miss getting to cover sports. In that way, my internship confirmed I wanted to work in sports reporting. The internship did, however, show me sports business is an area I might want to try and work in. I shadowed the Chronicle’s sports reporter, Phil Hudson, on multiple assignments, and I wrote a story about apparel sponsorship deals at Georgia State and Georgia Tech. It’s an area of journalism I really enjoy.