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Three CJ students gain valuable work experience during winter internships

Over this past winter break, three UW-Eau Claire journalism students had the opportunity to hold three week internships with large news organizations. December graduate Courtney Kueppers traveled to Washington D.C. to work at the Washington Post as the Ann Devroy Fellow. Current student Lauren French was the inaugural Koepp Fellow, completing a three week internship at Time.com in New York City that alumnus Stephen Koepp created. Lastly, Kiri Salinas, another current student spent her winter break with the KTSP news station in Minnesota as a part of the Henry Lippold Fellowship. The three took the time to reflect briefly on their experiences for this blog.

 

Kueppers who was awarded the Ann Devroy Fellowship at the Devroy Forum last spring spent three weeks with the Washington Post over winter break.

Kueppers who was awarded the Ann Devroy Fellowship at the Devroy Forum last spring spent three weeks with the Washington Post over winter break.

Courtney Kueppers

From a Virginia courtroom to a historic blizzard, the three weeks I spent reporting for The Washington Post as the 18th Ann Devroy Fellow were nothing if not memorable, exhilarating and educational.

I spent my stint there working on The Post’s Metro desk, which covers far more than just what happens in and around the district. I got to tell the tale of a stranger who gave 55 percent of his liver to a total stranger, then fell in love with her and now they are engaged to be wed. I covered a three day trial in Prince William County , and I even found a chance to give Eau Claire a shout out in one of my many pieces about snow storm Jonas.

I feel forever indebted to the many people who made this life changing opportunity possible and to the editors and reporters at The Post who graciously accepted me as a member of their team.

When I chatted with Ann’s former co-workers in the newsroom, they almost always began by describing her as having “a big personality,” but that remark was 100 percent of the time followed up by words such as “talented,” “dogged” or “the best.” I am both humbled and honored to be affiliated with a distinction that bears her name.

Many, many thanks to Craig Gilbert and Carol Guensburg for opening their home to me, to the UW-Eau Claire Communication and Journalism Department, my professors and classmates, Mark Matthews and the university Foundation.

 

French was the first Koepp fellow from UWEC. The university hopes to keep the fellowship running in the near future.

French was the first Koepp fellow from UWEC. The university hopes to keep the fellowship running in the near future.

Lauren French

My experience as the inaugural Stephen J. Koepp Journalism Fellow at Time Inc. is incomparable to anything I’ve ever done before.

Between covering ticket sales in New York for a record-breaking Powerball jackpot, writing national breaking news and reporting for a column on the New Hampshire primary, I grew immensely as a journalist. Everything I picked up, while valuable to me personally, is equally valuable to UW-Eau Claire’s student newspaper, The Spectator.

The Koepp Fellowship couldn’t have been the success it was without the help of so many thoughtful and hardworking people. Boundless thanks to Steve Koepp, Lesley Alderman and their son, Charlie, who graciously opened their home to me and went above and beyond to welcome me to New York. Their kindness will not be forgotten.

I owe a huge thanks to those in the CJ department who worked to kick off the inaugural year of the fellowship. Without them, this experience would not have been possible. Finally, I must thank my peers at The Spectator. They sparked my love for journalism with their camaraderie, support and dedication, and for that, I cannot say thank you enough. I am grateful to have been able to take that spark and apply it to the first year of the Koepp Fellowship.

 

 

 

Salinas was able to do a variety of different things in her short stint with KTSP TV.

Salinas was able to do a variety of different things in her short stint with KTSP TV.

Kiri Salinas

Starting my KSTP internship was thrilling and also terrifying at the same time.

Immediately on the first day, I was welcomed with open arms. I got to attend the morning meeting and introduce myself to amazing and hardworking reporters, producers, anchors and more. I told them all my plans for after college and they started having me help produce the 4:30pm newscast. I was exhilarated about how I got to jump right in. The people on producer’s row took me in and had me rewriting AP stories. After I had finished, they would tweak it a little and next thing I know, I hear the 4:30 anchor reading what I wrote. It was such an amazing feeling of accomplishment. The rest of my first week was just like that.

When week two came around, I started back at square one. I got to follow reporters all throughout the week. Each day was amazing to see how different reporters handled different topics. I was helping out with stories that ranged from gender nonconforming kindergartners to finding ways to cure “physician burnout.” I got to dig into each reporter’s mind and learn about how they got to where they are and the passion for what they do was just so clear to see.

The last week had to be the best week in my eyes. Everyone in the newsroom decided I was ready to tackle on more responsibility and so I was a field producer for the week. I got to go and make calls, conduct interviews, write the script, and put it all together. With one of the stories, I even got to have my own byline on the KSTP website, which was the highlight of my time there.

Each day was amazing and truly inspiring. I cannot thank Dr. Henry Lippold and everyone at KSTP enough for the rewarding time I had.

 

Have any comments or questions about the internships? Feel free to drop a comment below!

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