Interning at The Gazette: The first weeks


Image via Bryden Smith

A shot of The Colorado Springs Gazette building off of Pikes Peak Ave. in Colorado Springs, June 1, 2018.

Adviser’s Note: ACC Journalism students are required to have an internship before graduating. Arapahoe Pinnacle Editor-in-Chief, Bryden Smith, reports on his first few weeks in the prestigious internship he landed with the Colorado Springs Gazette

If I’m being honest, I applied on a whim. I never thought I would actually land an internship at one of the largest news outlets in the state. In a newsroom that’s won the Pulitzer prize. In a newsroom that’s operated since 1872, yet appears to be thriving and healthy.

In the newsroom of The Colorado Springs Gazette.

In January, I began my search for an internship, which I found was already a late start since I was looking for one in the summer. Some deadlines had already passed.

Luckily, I had until March to apply at The Gazette. Again, I didn’t think that actually getting it was even remotely likely. If anything, I figured it was a good chance to update my resume and practice with cover letters for journalism-specific jobs.

The date that I was supposed to hear back came and passed, and I was so focused on work for The Pinnacle that I barely noticed. I reached out to a couple other potential leads on summer internships to no avail. Then, seemingly out of the blue, I received an offer for a full-time summer internship with the Digital News Desk at The Gazette.

“Anxious” is probably the best word to describe how I was feeling at that moment and in the weeks to come. However, that feeling was partially alleviated when I was able to meet my boss in person and visit the newsroom itself in April when The Pinnacle staff attended the Colorado Press Association’s annual conference, and we were able to tour The Gazette newsroom, which was right across the street from the convention.

For the most part though, I tried to put internship anxiety out of my mind and focus on the homestretch of the spring semester. I finished strong, graduated from ACC, got myself registered for Fall classes at Metro… and tried (with little success) not to stress my first “real” journalism job.

Finally, the time came. My first day was May 16. I dove right in.

The Digital News Desk is responsible for a variety of things. To put it briefly, I’ve been helping the team with site management, social media and analytics; sending alerts; breaking news; and aggregating content from The Associated Press and other agencies for national stories. Reporters and editors work on their stories, and then the work is sent to two places: to the layout team for print in the following days, and to us at the Digital News Desk for formatting on the web.

The tricky part about this is not really any individual aspect, but the management of all of the pieces at once. News moves fast, especially at a daily newspaper.

I’d be lying if I said that the first couple weeks were a piece of cake. It’s a lot of work, and a hell of a lot to learn. That said, I couldn’t have been more fortunate — not just to get the job in the first place, but to work with a team that’s incredibly kind and patient.

I’ve already created a good amount of online content, and even rewrote some press releases for publication. In the coming weeks, I’ll be shadowing some reporters and later, trying my hand with video.

The hour-plus commute each way is tough when I’m working full-time, but it couldn’t be more worth it. More updates coming later this summer.