First week at USA TODAY

USA TODAY interns

I just wrapped up my first week at USA TODAY and it has been amazing. Here’s how my week went.


Monday was an all-day orientation, complete with a photo of the 40 interns, getting our press passes, a career panel and a tour of the building. The day ended with an ice cream social.


I got a run-down of practices that USA TODAY uses on its social media platforms. I wrote several tweets, Google+ posts, Tumblr posts and helped with Facebook statuses. I also participated in a conference call about the future of social media. We discussed the possible demise of Facebook.

Tuesday was the 24th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square protests and the Chinese government’s crackdown on the protesters. I created a Tumblr photo gallery for the anniversary, which has received 953 notes on Tumblr.


My editor asked me to write a story about the first person to receive 40 million followers on Twitter — Justin Bieber. So I did some research on Twitter, found other articles, and wrote a story with embedded tweets in USA TODAY’s CMS. It was my first national byline and very exciting!

I also put together a photo gallery on Tumblr of 30 hot summer books to read.


On Thursday I put together a photo gallery for Tumblr about what you can do with $590.5 million — the amount that the Powerball winner Gloria Mackenzie, 84, of Zephyrhills, Fla., won. She will take home $278.2 million after taxes. The post has so far received 58 notes, with some Tumblr users responding with what they would do with the money. That is my goal with social media — and news outlets’ goals as well — to interact and form conversations with readers. I am hoping to improve how I use social media through this internship.


On Friday I experienced what Mary called a fire drill, when news is coming in rapidly and updates have to be published immediately. It was a day when we were getting a lot of updates about the NSA and PRISM phone tracking scandal, so I was tweeting out from the main USA TODAY handle (@USATODAY). One of the reporters was writing an article about the social media response to the scandal and an editor asked me to send her any reactions I saw. People started using the hashtag #NSACalledToTellMe to respond with humor. I ended up making a Storify of Twitter responses.

Tomorrow starts my second week! Check back for updates and read my stories hereKeep track of my tweets here.


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About Marlena Chertock

Marlena Chertock's first collection of poetry, On that one-way trip to Mars, is available from Bottlecap Press. Her articles have appeared in The Washington Post, Marketplace, and WTOP. Her poems and fiction has appeared in The Deaf Poets Society, Moonsick Magazine, and Paper Darts.

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