Across the country, there are fewer and fewer places for young journalists to go for internships to learn. More and more newsrooms are going dark – or cutting back on staffing. That means that those who want to thrive and succeed in serving society’s need for professional news have fewer veterans and fewer editors to guide them.
At the Malheur Enterprise we’re working to counter that, despite our small size. We want to bring on two paid interns to Vale this summer. The University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communications has assigned one graduate student to us and will help pay part of the cost of that one position. The International Society of Weekly Newspaper Editors also wants to pay part of the cost of the second internship – the Engelberg Internship for Investigative Reporting. That’s all great support, but the Enterprise can’t on its own pick up all the other costs. We depend on the support of people who want to see journalism taught well and done right.
This is our third year of offering internships. Our first intern is doing well at a daily newspaper in Oklahoma. A second is now doing strong journalism at the daily newspaper in Roseburg. They are putting to work the lessons they learned during a summer with me in Vale. Another is now working in New York City.
While at the Enterprise, interns are treated like professionals. They contribute significantly to reporting on one of Oregon’s most impoverished and remote counties, helping avoid a “news desert.” They also get advanced training. Here’s a sampling from the memo interns get that outlines their summer:
Besides regular consultations with me and the other reporters, expect hour-long training sessions on key journalistic skills. The other reporters may join us. These are roughly scheduled, subject to change. These are sessions meant to advance the assumed basic skills you have already acquired. You will be expected to employ these skills after the sessions and then we’ll discuss how they played out in reality vs. in a training setting.
Week 1: The basics of standards and ethics at the Enterprise
Week 3: Interviewing
Week 5: Source development
Week 7: Public records and documents
Week 9: Using government budget documents
In short, we’ll commit our efforts in Vale to producing solid journalists if you’ll help the Enterprise afford to do so. We are aiming to raise $10,000 by April 8.
If you can and want to help, please mail a tax-deductible donation to the Oregon Newspapers Foundation with “Enterprise Intern Fund” on the notation line or in a cover note and mail it to Oregon Newspapers Foundation, 4000 Kruse Way Place, Bldg 2, #160, Lake Oswego, OR 97035. If you’re not interested or concerned with your donation being tax deductible, you can mail a check directly (Malheur Enterprise, PO Box 310 Vale Oregon 97918). Or you can simply go online and contribute immediately: https://www.malheurenterprise.com/donate.
As the editor and publisher of the Enterprise, I’m not very comfortable asking for donations. But I’m less comfortable watching the journalism profession erode and citizens more challenged than ever to find information they can trust. Teaming up, we can both do something about that.
Les Zaitz, editor and publisher