From left: Ian Pickus, Michael De Dora and Felicia Bylund
Whether writing stories about New York State's Freedom of Information law or selling newspaper advertising, UAlbany students are getting the scoop on the news media through internships.
Senior communication major Michael De Dora, Jr. has learned a lot about daily journalism as an intern since January 3 at Gannett News Service's Capitol office in downtown Albany. He's written stories and done office work, and finds that "I love the writing; that's the most exciting part of my internship. I love dealing with people."
Most of Michael's stories have focused on the Freedom of Information Law in New York. "I follow local legislators from seven areas around the state, including Binghamton, Niagara, and Westchester, and report on proposed bills. My biggest story was on Hillary Clinton's approval rating. It was published in USA Today; I can't begin to tell you how exciting it was to see my byline there. One of my first stories was on the front page of the Utica Observer-Dispatch, one of Gannett's bigger newspapers. I framed that front page," recalls Michael, who is also editor-in-chief of the ASP, UAlbany's student newspaper. The 22-year-old Huntington, N.Y., native would eventually like to teach journalism in college.
"My biggest story was on Hillary Clinton's approval rating. It was published in USA Today; I can't begin to tell you how exciting it was to see my byline there."
Michael De Dora, Jr.
In addition to reinforcing a young person's career plans, an internship can help to determine "what you don't want to do," observes Felicia Bylund, 21, of North Bellmore, N.Y. During the summer of 2004, Felicia, a senior who majors in theatre and minors in journalism, interned in Newsday's retail advertising department, recruiting new business. "I was out of the office most of the day, and my job depended on interacting with other people."
Now, as an intern at Communication Services, a small public relations and marketing firm in Albany, Felicia creates media lists and writes press releases and newsletter copy. She and another intern also write solicitation letters for Cinderella Project, one of Communication Services' pro bono clients.
Her work is also seen in other venues. "I wrote a rhyming press release for the Astor Home for Children in Rhinebeck, N.Y., one of our clients, and everyone in the office loved it. It was well received and resulted in at least two front-page stories. Getting good press for a non-profit is very rewarding," notes Felicia.
"I have learned so much about how companies work, how non-profits work, and how things get done. A hands-on experience like an internship is invaluable."
This internship has helped Felicia to decide that "public relations is probably not in my future; I don't like desk jobs. But I have learned so much about how companies work, how non-profits work, and how things get done. A hands-on experience like an internship is invaluable." After graduating in May, she will work in event planning or sales.
Through his internship at Gannett, Michael says, "I have become a much better writer. Internships help you immensely and directly affect your future. There is no better feeling than writing a great story and seeing it in print." An internship, he adds, is the "best way to learn."
UAlbany is currently expanding its journalism program, with the goal of building it into a major.
Department of Communication
Department of English