Scripps Intern: Experience Is a Journalistic Dream Come True

Jun 302011
  • Hamdhoon Rashad at work as a Scripps Howard Foundation Semester in Washington Program intern.

The Scripps Howard Foundation Semester in Washington Program is every journalism student’s dream come true.

The day I arrived in Washington D.C., I received my congressional pass that served as a passport offering unlimited access to the insides of the political arena in the U.S. capital. The program has given me the kind of tremendous exposure no other foundation or organization could have offered: the exceptional opportunity to rub shoulders with politicians, celebrities and world-famous journalists; the movers and shakers who make it all.

I had the rare opportunity to spend almost an entire day inside the White House (covering a conference on bullying prevention) and report from the Capitol Hill where important, world-changing decisions are made. I had the chance to “be there” when the president of the United States delivered his State of the Union address and saw the president and other prominent figures in the U.S. political landscape at such close range.

The intensive, three-month internship program has provided me with an incredible learning platform whereby I have acquired journalistic skills that would immensely enrich my future journalism career. I give the whole semester a five-star rating not only because it was a golden opportunity of a lifetime but also due to the career-enhancing impact of the program that will last with me for a lifetime.

Throughout the program, I was rewarded with the unique opportunity of being a reporter in Washington D.C. alongside professional reporters in the U.S. media industry, often covering high-profile events. From an event attended by the First Lady to a major NASA press conference, I was there to cover it all. While covering these exciting happenings and historical events in the U.S. capital each day, I worked on perfecting my news writing and reporting skills.

The internship program allowed a unique flexibility with which the interns can choose the genres of reporting. Be it hard news stories, features, slideshows or videos, we get to try our hands on all. As a result, at the end of the program we have an assortment of articles and clips that could be used in our portfolios.

Apart from the reporting and writing experience, the Semester in Washington Program also provided us with insightful exposure to the routines of government institutes such as the Capitol, the State Department and the Supreme Court, and other organizations such as Student Press Law Center and the Washington Post. We talked to experts to learn more about the nature of work at these places to better understand how to cover the news.

Each week of the program, we have a guest speaker to enhance our journalistic knowledge and to gain their perspectives into many journalism-related topics. We were also given the opportunity to attend training sessions and workshops relevant to the field of journalism to enrich our skills and prepare us for our future careers.

Another highlight of the program was the major project dedicated to exploring the higher education system in the U.S. which let us explore new ways to apply journalistic skills to everyday reporting. From database journalism to investigative reporting, I learned new dimensions in journalism and the overall experience has been extremely valuable.

Equally essential was the cultural exposure I have gained in parallel to the journalistic experience in Washington D.C. Being with a group of like-minded American journalism students gave me the perfect opportunity to learn about the country and appreciate its culture. The bonding and camaraderie between us has been a fascinating experience I will profoundly cherish. From the very first day in the United States, everyday has been an exciting learning experience for me. From discovering new historical facts about the country to the incalculable exposure into the U.S. media methods, I have had an awe-inspiring and eye-opening experience in learning more about the dynamic U.S. culture and media.

For these reasons and more, the Semester in Washington Program has been the most rewarding journalistic experience I have had in my life so far.