We have terrific news about your Malheur Enterprise to share with you today.

Two University of Oregon journalism students will join the staff of the Enterprise for the summer, turning our operation into one of the largest newsrooms in Eastern Oregon.

That’s possible because of the success of a fund drive to pay for this important program. With more than a week to go yet, the campaign has raised more than $15,000. The goal was $10,000.

These are both significant developments for the Enterprise, one of the smallest newspapers in Oregon and one in peril just two years ago.

We attracted a strong field of candidates for our internships. These are full-time, paid positions, adding two reporters to our staff. The Enterprise drew applicants from across the West.

The Edward Engelberg Internship for Investigative Reporting has been awarded to Carolyn Agrimis, who is scheduled to graduate from the University of Oregon soon with a degree in journalism.

“I view this internship as a chance to seriously refine my journalistic skills and to become well-acquainted with a part of Oregon where I haven’t spent much time,” she wrote in an essay competing for the internship. She is a native of Portland.

The second intern is Max Egener, who is graduating from UO with a master’s in journalism. He comes to the Enterprise as a Charles Snowden intern, selected through a rigorous process at the School of Journalism and Communication. The university added the Enterprise this year as one of the newsrooms across the state for placement of the Snowden interns. The university helps cover the cost of this internship.

“I strive to better understand how I can ask the tough questions that hold people in power accountable or reveal someone’s inner struggle. I want to be part of the next generation of journalists who tell the important stories,” he wrote in his essay competing for the Snowden slow.

Agrimis and Egener will bring their experience and their perspectives to bear on a range of news assignments through the summer. They won’t be sitting in the office rewriting press releases. We’ll tell you more about them as the day of their arrival nears.

We worked hard to establish this intern program because of the national challenges facing journalism. By focused training in Vale, our program will teach these interns the fundamentals of fair, accurate reporting. They will be coached in the highest ethics of the profession so they can go forward in their careers as ambassadors for journalism that the public can trust.

None of this would have been possible without generous support of donors to our first-ever fund drive. The entire staff of the Enterprise is humbled by the interest in our program. The list of all donors will hang in the entry of the Enterprise and through the summer those donors will get updates from the interns and from me on what they are learning and what they are reporting.

That begins with Steve Engelberg, editor-in-chief of ProPublica, the New York-based investigative reporting nonprofit. Engelberg, a former editor at The Oregonian, personally funded the Engelberg internship to honor his father.

Other donors so far include in no particular order:

Jeff Wohler

Carla Inman

Patricia Kangas

Susan Schleis

H. Robert and Chris Hamilton

Jeff Kosseff

Stan Horton

Brenda Gundersen

Ione Darras

Cecelia Koontz

Niki Reading

Charles Glassser

Mike and Sandy Thoele

Allen and Cynthia Schauffler

Frank and Patty Yraguen

Greg and Jan Frank

Leland Zaitz

David Zaitz

Jack Rust

Noelle and Mark Halpern

Don and Priscilla Wilt

Nancy Todd

Keeta and Ray Lauderdale

John and Sheri Nalivka

Dean and Lou Rea

Kristi Steber

Shelk Foundation

Stanton F. Long

Shauna and Kevin Flanigan Foundation

WANT TO HELP?

Our fund drive will close March 30. Any funds not needed for this year’s program will be banked for future interns. To contribute:

Mail your check made out to the Oregon Newspapers Foundation with “Malheur Enterprise intern” on the notation line or in a cover note. Mail the check to: Oregon Newspapers Foundation, 4000 Kruse Way Place, Bldg 2, #160, Lake Oswego, OR 97035.

Online: malheurenterprise/support

Les Zaitz: [email protected], 541-473-3377, @leszaitz