McClure Center Interns Provide Public Service from the State Capitol Building
For journalism students, an internship working in the media industry offers that critical real-world experience necessary for students to turn their diplomas into careers after graduating.
This spring, two students in the College of Letters, Arts and Social Sciences’ School of Journalism and Mass Media found those opportunities not in newsrooms, but in the Idaho Legislature.
Taylor Nadauld, a junior in JAMM at the University of Idaho with a minor in political science, and JAMM sophomore Nishant Mohan landed internships covering the 2016 Legislative session through the U of I James A. and Louise McClure Center for Public Policy Research in Boise.
The internship was supervised by JAMM faculty member Glenn Mosley. The stories produced by Nadauld and Mohan during the internship were published by Idaho Public Radio, the Owyhee Avalanche, the Idaho County Free Press, the Bonner County Daily Bee, the Power County Press and the Aberdeen Times. Combined, the students had more than 45 stories published from mid-January to mid-March.
Nadauld, of Idaho Falls, transferred to U of I after earning her associate degree at North Idaho College in Coeur d’Alene. She worked for the student newspapers The Sentinel at NIC and The Argonaut at U of I. Mohan, of Boise, worked for The Argonaut and Idaho Public Radio.
During the internship, Nadauld and Mohan shared an office at U of I’s GAR building, a block away from the Capitol. They walked up the Capitol stairs every day and covered the topics assigned by Mosley and state newspaper editors, as well as followed their own interests and instincts.
“We had a lot of freedom to choose topics and we split topics based on our interests,” Mohan said. “For example, I wanted to cover health care because it’s a passion of mine, and Taylor covered education or state affairs, which interested her more.”
The legislative articles they wrote were tailored to their audiences.
“We prepared different versions of the same story for each paper by covering a topic and then talking to the different district representatives of the regions we covered,” Nadauld said.
In addition, the two interns were active on Twitter, sharing daily tidbits of information, legislators’ quotes and pictures.
“I think I have learned more from writing every week during this internship than from sitting in a class, so it has been a very good experience for me,” Mohan said. “I wanted to produce content that could be used by people, and this internship has shown me that there is a demand for local reporting.”
“Newspaper editors tell us their readers have come to expect quality reporting on the legislative session, thanks to the University of Idaho interns,” said Priscila Salant, director of the U of I McClure Center. “The McClure Center is pleased to provide a public service at the same time we offer U of I students an opportunity to get real-world experience.”
Both McClure Center interns agree that their internship experience during the legislature was overwhelmingly positive.
“We were accepted in the Capitol newsroom with the other professional journalist from day one,” Mohan said.
“I also found very positive how civil everyone was at the Capitol. When you look at national politics and everything looks so polarized, it is refreshing to see that, in Idaho, our legislators are very civil,” said Nadauld, who has been interested in journalism since high school and has an interest in politics as well.
“This internship combined my interests very well, and on top of that I got to come to Boise and it gave me school credit. I knew I wanted to do it from the first moment I heard about it,” she said.
Article by Maria Ortega, U of I Boise