The best feedback an intern could receive

Are you on the Takoma Park beat? Will you be writing all these stories?”

I had no idea I was speaking to an intern.”

When I first contact a source for a story, I usually don’t tell them I’m interning.

I don’t consider it lying. I get better responses if I act as a professional journalist. When I told sources in the past that I was a student or intern, they often refused to speak with me or answer my questions fully. So in order to report accurately and completely, I just don’t tell them I’m an intern.

I email or call a source and explain that I’m reporting for The Gazette, or my past internships, and continue to interview them. Most times, the interview goes well. I get the information and quotes I need for my story and I thank the source.

Sometimes, a source will ask if I’m on the Takoma Park or Silver Spring beat. If I’ll be covering stories like the one I interviewed them for. If they should contact me with story ideas.

Sometimes a story has a long life, and reporters continue to write about an ongoing process for several articles. I am working on a few of those stories now at The Gazette. Sources tell me who I can get in contact with months in the future, and I tell them thank you, take down the contacts, and explain that I won’t be the reporter contacting them for future stories.

I’m a summer intern, I say.

They’ll ask me where I attend school, wish me luck, and sometimes give me props because they didn’t know they were talking to an intern. As a dedicated intern, that is some of the best feedback I could ever receive!


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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.

2 responses to “The best feedback an intern could receive”

  1. Lori Stern says :

    I loved your article One Day. One Dress. Make it work.! I’m so proud of you and hope you had a wonderful birthday!

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