Internship Lesson #2: Talking to the movers and shakers

I learned something pretty quickly when working at the Missourian; people are people, no matter how influential they are. And journalists are people, too. People like to talk to people, especially people who write about people. Hence how journalism works.

But something that I must have missed when working at the Missourian is that there really aren’t many boundaries when it comes towhich people you can talk to.

When my Missourian editor, Jeanne, God love her, told me to try to get a quote from actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt on his upcoming visit to Mizzou for my preview article, I stared at her in disbelief.

“I mean,” she said to me, “Can’t you just find his cell phone number online or something?”*

*Her naivety was more endearing than frustrating.

If my eyebrows could talk, they would have been saying, “Jeanne, if I could, I would have found it by now and JGL would have a restraining order against me as well as the rest of American femaledom.”

At least a restraining order would mean having his autograph…which is more than got sitting in the front row. I had my “Inception” still with me and EVERYTHING!

But when I was working on my piece for The Chicago Reporter (hyperlink to said article coming soon!), I found that saying I was working for a metropolis magazine was a far better fare for getting to the big-wigs of social justice, i.e. the deputy executive director and head of the Washington, D.C. office of Amnesty International.

Yeah. That’s right. Amnesty International.

So, to keep this brief, my time at the Reporter has taught me a bit more about journalism and broadened my experience (like it’s supposed to do). I’ve talked to Frank Jannuzi of Amnesty International, as well as another mover-and-shaker, whom I cannot name here without giving my story away.

To top it all off, I survived both without sounding like a complete idiot because of all those hours spent learning and practicing interviewing skills (I’d like to thank the Academy, my beat and Professor Jacqui Banaszinski for this great honor).

And yes, Jeanne. I did find their numbers online.


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