Set for Summer
Written by Jo Kroeker
Every year, the Dow Journalism Program connects its students with summer internships. These opportunities are a mandatory part of the minor, just like staffing The Collegian, because the program adheres to the principle that the best education for a journalist is as much practice as possible.
This year’s round-up of Dow Journalism students with sponsored internships include three rockstar women doing everything from gumshoe reporting to churning out editorials to longform magazine writing on the arts. Each woman reports discovering a particular love in journalism she couldn’t have found in the classroom.
Kaylee McGhee, ’19, politics and journalism, City News Editor for The Collegian
Kaylee was sold on The Detroit News when the deputy editorial page editor and Hillsdale alumna Ingrid Jacques, ’02, told Kaylee the paper would treat her like an actual reporter.
It also introduced her to her now-favorite side of reporting.
“I didn’t have a lot of editorial experience before coming to The News, but now it has become my favorite part of journalism. There’s something special about seeing your opinions printed and hearing the feedback from people across the country who agree with you,” Kaylee said.
She’s proudest of her column “Why We Melt,” a discussion on the millennial generation and its victim mentality, which RealClearPolitics and the American Enterprise Institute picked up—sparking more than twenty thousand conversations online.
“I have been able to tell the stories of ordinary people in the comeback city. It’s been a once-in-a-lifetime experience,” Kaylee said.
Hannah Niemeier, ’18, English and journalism, senior writer for The Collegian
Hannah’s summer with Humanities, the magazine of the National Endowment for the Humanities, was a journalist’s equivalent of a 180° shift from her internship last summer as a political writer for The Orange County Register. This opportunity aligned with her interest in arts reporting and introduced her to magazine writing and the working life of Washington, D.C.
Mostly she edited and navigated Humanities and NEH, but she’s proud of two projects in particular. The first, a written piece about an artist who painted all ninety-three counties of her home state of Nebraska:
“It’s a feature on a cool project, and it’s about art, which means the layout will feature (you guessed it) paintings of sunsets and cornfields and buffalo and beautiful old county courthouses, churches, and railroads,” Hannah said.
The second is a photo essay about photojournalists in Vietnam in connection with Ken Burns’ upcoming documentary, honoring what Hannah calls their “powerful controversial work.”
Hannah also took away important tips for building a career in journalism, such as looking to universities, foundations, and research institutions for jobs, recognizing her career won’t necessarily be the shortest distance from here to The New Yorker, and figuring out if she wants to know one thing, like scholars do, or many things, like journalists do.
While Niemeier’s not sure where she falls on the last tip, her summer at NEH confirmed she likes to write, edit, and watch a massive project like a quarterly magazine come together.
Katie Scheu, ’18, French and journalism, Associate Editor for The Collegian
Katie’s internship at The Tennessean was her crash course in career journalism.
She’s most proud of her two 1A clips, which came from covering a high-profile homicide trial of a local father who had been accused of shooting his daughter in the next county over.
Katie said her three days in court served as a seminar on court reporting, from decoding legal language to crafting a piece that transcended the “he said, she said” of court proceedings.
The not-only internship stretched classroom lessons, such as how to recognize compelling narratives and the transformation of journalism in the digital age, but also opened her eyes to aspects of the career that remain relatively unaddressed within the confines of syllabus and a college weekly, like discovering subjects that she could see herself taking on as a beat.
“I didn’t realize just how much reporters pour their hearts into the subjects they cover. I enjoyed writing about religion and education at The Tennessean, two subjects I haven’t covered much at The Collegian. With an intense career like journalism, I’ve realized how important it is for reporters to choose a subject that fascinates them,” Katie said.
Necessity of Scholarships
Breaking into journalism requires a mix of experience, often paid, and connections that veteran reporters like John Miller and Maria Servold, the program’s directors, help facilitate.
These feet in the door aren’t the only factor in landing internships. As the journalism industry shifts and papers suffer lay-offs, many news outlets no longer can afford to pay summer interns. The Dow Journalism Program’s fund gave Kaylee, Hannah, and Katie the chance to pursue internships that interested them, trusting Miller’s promise that the program funding would cover it.
The two professors’ connections meant introductions and recommendations on the behalf of Kaylee, Hannah and Katie.The beauty of a small program means they ensure each student has access to opportunities for advancement.
“Mr. Miller personally invests in the careers of each student in the program, going out of his way to see each one set up at an internship that will advance his or her career,” Kaylee said.
JoAnna (but everyone calls her Jo) Kroeker exchanged flip flops and eternal sunshine in Fresno, California, for snow-boots and school at Hillsdale. A senior, she studies French and journalism. Former Opinions and current Features Editor of the Hillsdale Collegian, she gives thanks for the coffee and brown sugar Pop Tarts that make it possible. When she’s not writing, she’s tutoring other writers or thinking about writing while doing yoga, baking, or reading.