As an eighth-grader at Mountain Middle School, for one week in March, my classmates and I applied for internships at various businesses throughout Durango. For some, it’s shadowing at a pet hospital or the fish hatchery.
I decided to choose The Durango Herald. I wanted to see what it was like working at Durango’s local newspaper. Have you ever wondered what it would be like to work in the newsroom and learn what goes on in the creation of a daily paper?
I was given the amazing opportunity to work with Katie Chicklinski-Cahill, Arts and Entertainment editor at the Herald. I decided to ask her and a few of her co-workers what advice they had for kids considering a career in journalism.
Shane Benjamin, assistant city editor, who has been in journalism for 20 years, said, “My advice would be to know that it is a struggling industry right now, and to be successful you’re going to have to really have a passion for it, and if you are kind of wishy-washy about it, it’s probably not for you.”
Sue McMillin, interim senior editor and city editor, has been in journalism for more than 35 years, and had some advice to offer:
“I think that if you are considering a career in journalism, you need to have an enormous amount of curiosity and an enormous amount of passion for public service, because that’s what you do,” she said. “Kids should also be aware of how much the industry is changing, and that a wide skill set including taking your own photos, recording, doing video (is needed). It’s not just about writing anymore, it’s a multimedia kind of job. So, there’s a lot of shifts in the industry, and that’s continuing so people have to really be aware of what that is.”
Chicklinski-Cahill added: “My advice would be to be really flexible. This industry, the newspaper industry, is definitely changing, it’s changing almost every week.”
During my internship, there was something new to do every day.
On Tuesday, we went on a hunt for a statue someone had made in the river below the dog park. Someone had called in about it, and said it was in the river by the train station, so we walked down to the station until we realized that the river isn’t near the train station. We crossed Camino del Rio, and went down by the river trail and searched the river for any type of statue. We were about to turn around when we saw something in the water. It was several piles of stones. We took some photos, and then headed back.
On Wednesday, we headed down to the archives to look for some stories by a man named Marshall Fine, who is now a director of a movie that is coming out shortly. He worked at the Herald from 1973-74. The archives smelled like amazing old books, and had old newspapers from 1950s and on. After an hour of searching, we found a few of his stories.
I also got to sit in on some interviews of the Durango Voice finalists, and walked down to the courthouse and watched a bit of a first-degree murder hearing.
Chicklinski-Cahill showed me about the Herald website and all of the social media involved.
“Definitely know how to use social media, know how to take some pictures, know how to do all of that stuff,” she said. “Along with knowing the basics of just getting stories done, and just knowing the nuts and bolts of journalism, you also need to add that digital aspect as well. It’s no longer, you know, you don’t just come in and type up a story and it goes into print anymore; It goes everywhere, which is pretty cool.”
It was very exciting and interesting learning about all of the different things that go into making a daily newspaper. I hope that as I continue my education, I am able to write for my school newspapers and maybe someday, I, too, could become the member of a team as creative as the one here at The Durango Herald.
Stella Birrenkott is an eighth-grader at Mountain Middle School. She was an intern at the Herald from March 13-17.