Friday, July 19, 2013

Volunteer Opportunity for Interns!

Hey guys!

My name is Sung-Jae Park and I’m currently working as a market research intern for the Travel Media Group within USA Today. I wanted to take this chance to briefly tell you about a great volunteering opportunity that has come up for all Gannett/USAT interns. The ConneXions outreach team, along with Gannett/USAT interns, is hosting a supply drive for Jill’s House, a respite center for parents of children with special needs. The purpose of the supply drive is to collect new or gently-used craft and outdoor supplies, toys and books to give to these kids who are being taken care of by Jill’s House.

From 11AM-2PM on Monday, July 29 – Wednesday, July 31, we need interns to man the collection table that will be set up in front of the entrance to the Breaking News Café. We only need you to sign up for a 1 hour shift, although you’re free to sign up for more if you wish (we need 2-3 volunteers per hour). You can sign up right here.

Your main task as a volunteer will be to sign-in people who make donations at the table. You will have access to a Google Doc so that you can type up the names, emails, donation type, etc. of the donors. As you can see, it is a simple task, but this opportunity will provide you with a very valuable volunteering experience located conveniently within the USAT building. So if you have a free hour on 7/29-7/31, please sign up because we still need many more interns to volunteer. Thank you!

Sign up! 

Thursday, July 18, 2013

The Editorial Board

Eleanor Roosevelt once said “Small minds discuss people. Average minds discuss events. Great minds discuss ideas.”

In that vein, perhaps my favorite aspect of interning for the USA TODAY Opinion section is the daily meeting of editorial writers, in which they discuss issues in the news and formulate what the paper’s official position should be. Every day at 10:30 inside our fifth-floor conference room in comes editorial page editor Brian Gallagher, deputy editorial page editor Bill Sternberg, and editorial writers George Hager, Saundra Torry, and Dan Carney. The intellectual back-and-forth and rapid exchange of concepts is truly something to behold – especially when the participants are so well-versed on the issues, accumulate so many years of experience, and each have written hundreds of editorials. 

At the University of Connecticut Daily Campus I serve on the editorial board, and those meetings follow a fairly similar format. There is one minor difference, though: USA TODAY boasts a print circulation of 1.4 million. So with every word spoken, with every sentence written, you know there is the probability of mass readership in all 50 states absorbing those very words. Could the editorials and columns affect public policy on a national scale? Maybe yes, maybe no. But there’s always a chance.

Of course, you can’t live in intellectual heaven 24/7. So last Thursday, the other Opinion department intern Josh Higgins and I went to the Barnes and Noble in town, where Alana “Honey Boo-Boo” Thompson was signing copies of her book “The Complete Guide on How to Redneckognize the Honey Boo Boo in You.” See, it’s important to achieve balance in life.

- Jesse Rifkin

Something about college is taking people further away from doing what they’re best at … as opposed to bringing them closer to it Well, this is depressing. 
Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Q&A Session with Dave Callaway and Derek Murphy

Friday, July 12, 2013

Intern Spotlight: Savannah Jackson


1. Name: Savannah Jackson

2. School info: Junior at Auburn University, Public Relations major

3. Job at USAT/Gannett: Gannett Corporate Communications Intern

4. What has been your biggest accomplishment here so far? One of our ongoing projects is the Gannett company Instagram (@gannettco, follow us!). Since we’ve taken over we’ve gained 30+ new followers and are starting a #21daysofSummer campaign which we’re very excited about. Biggest challenge? Stuffing over 400 envelopes to send to all of the Gannett properties!

5. What are your goals for the summer? My main goal is just to learn a lot, about corporate communications/PR, but also learn about some of the other fields and expand my interests in social media and journalism.

6. Where do you see yourself in five years? Hopefully working in public relations/communications for a big company, like Gannett! I’d really just like to gain as much experience as possible doing PR in a variety of fields.

7. What are your favorite apps? Recently I’ve started using Timehop, which allows you to see your tweets on a certain from past years. That has been fun to look at. I also like Instagram, GroupMe, and Washington Post’s Going Out Guide app- great for living in D.C.!

8. What’s in your daily news diet? I read USA TODAY at my desk every morning, but I also get a lot of information from news sources on Twitter.

9. What’s your favorite social network and why? I love Twitter because everything is so instant. I really like the ability to receive breaking news by the minute and I love how information is passed around so quickly. I’m also really starting to like Vine more, to me it’s a fun, video-version of Instagram.

10. How many times have you been asked to get coffee? None! Only for myself

Intern Spotlight: Jesse Rifkin

Twitter / Portfolio

1. Name: Jesse Rifkin

2. School info: University of Connecticut, rising senior, Journalism major.

3. Job at USAT/Gannett: USA Today Opinion department intern.

4. What has been your biggest accomplishment here so far? Biggest challenge? So far, my biggest accomplishment has probably been landing this internship at all! My biggest challenge has been adjusting to the fact that as an intern you’re at the bottom of the hierarchy, unlike at the UConn Daily Campus newspaper where I am near the top of the hierarchy. Then again, that’s the way it should be: you start at the bottom and hopefully work your way up. It would be irrational for me to replace David Callaway at age 21!

5. What are your goals for the summer? To learn from among the best and most widely-read journalists and writers, to explore as much as possible about other sections and departments besides Opinion, and to make the most of being in Washington D.C.

6. Where do you see yourself in five years? In the words of stand-up comedian Mitch Hedberg: “At a job interview, the lady asked me ‘Where do you see yourself in five years?’ I said ‘Celebrating the five year anniversary of you asking me that question.’

7. What are your favorite apps? My favorite iPhone app is Where’s the Pixel? It’s a game where the entire screen goes white except for one pixel which turns black, you have to find the miniscule dot and tap it, then a different pixel turns black which you have to find and tap, and so on. My best score is 76 pixels in 60 seconds.

8. What’s in your daily news diet? USA Today, of course! Beyond that, my favorites are New York Times for national news, Hartford Courant and Connecticut Mirror for news from my home state, and Daily Campus when I’m at UConn. Most of what I read is through RSS feeds of individual writers from a variety of publications. Some of my favorites include Derek Thompson of The Atlantic and Rick Reilly of ESPN for sports.

9. What’s your favorite social network and why? YouTube. It’s the only one that sucks me in and won’t let go, while with Twitter and Facebook I’m usually never on for more a few minutes. The YouTube ‘related videos’ section on the right-hand side has been terrible for my productivity, often turning an intended five minutes into an hour or more, but I regret nothing!

10. How many times have you been asked to get coffee? Zero. Ideally it stays that way, especially considering there’s a coffee machine right there.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

When you see your byline in print:


After working a 9-5 day:

When interns are on assignment: