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Feature


Students Get the Scoop through Media Internships

Ian Pickus, Michael De Dora and Felicia Bylund

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.Michael De Dora, Jr.
Year: Senior
Major: Communication

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."

 

Felicia BylundFelicia Bylund
Year: Senior
Major: Theatre
Minor: Journalism

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.

Related Links:
Department of Communication
Journalism Program
Department of English

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On the Sports Beat

Ian PickusIan Pickus eats, sleeps, and breathes sports. The 19-year-old Saratoga Springs native covers baseball, basketball, and his other favorite sports for the ASP, the WCDB program "The Five O'Clock Shadow," The Saratogian, and the Associated Press. And in May, the sophomore English major will have "a real chance to improve my writing and learn more about the craft" when he attends a three-day conference on sportswriting sponsored by the Los Angeles Times.

To have been selected to participate is "very humbling, and I feel really honored," says Ian. "We're going to cover L.A. sports - which in May means the Dodgers, I hope. I've been to only seven stadiums thus far, and to be in the press box at my eighth would be a dream." Covering a race at Hollywood Park will be "an exciting chance for a kid who grew up in a world-famous horse racing town to check out how tracks and racing differ out west."

After graduating from UAlbany, Ian wants "to be involved with a major league baseball team - following the team every day, seeing all the stadiums. I'm hoping to make it to a major market so I can continue to watch baseball for my whole life - and who knows? Maybe I'll become a Hall of Fame voter or even get inducted with the Spink Award," presented every year to an outstanding sportswriter. "I'll go as far as I can."

 
 
 

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