Thursday, May 15, 2008

Are You Experienced?

By Michael R. Ratty
Director of Communications

One hand on the steering wheel, one hand on a hastily printed map, I nearly swerved into oncoming traffic on the two-lane bridge. It was a humid afternoon and I was panicking on my first day of an internship with The Lowell Sun, a daily newspaper in Lowell, Mass. Only ten minutes earlier, I had been handed by first reporting assignment, covering a press conference announcing a new affordable housing measure for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. I had expected my first day to be filled with inane duties like finding cubicle having my employee ID picture taken. I was wrong. 

I was on summer break before my senior year at Ithaca College and, like most journalism majors, I has agonized over where I would intern. My first choice was the Boston Globe and my second choice was the Sun's internship program, which had four paid, full-time positions. The Globe program, although unpaid ( the Globe name was the payment...) was renowned for landing impressive placements for graduates. Up against Ivy Leaguers and students from higher profile journalism programs like Syracuse and NYU, I was not offered a position. Disappointed but undaunted, I pursed the Sun's program because of the experience I anticipated receiving. After two rounds of interviews, I was given the good new on the last day of classes. At the time, I felt like the last kid picked at gym class. The feeling would not last long.

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