Stephen Autar (left), a senior in the Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications, recently returned from his Journalism Residency at the Daily Camera newspaper in Boulder, Colorado. Medill's Journalism Residency program places undergraduate students with news/online companies, magazines, broadcast stations, online organizations and marketing communications groups for one academic quarter so they can get valuable experience learning and working in the real world.
Stephen, who is originally from the Bronx, wrote the following recap of his Journalism Residency for Our Northwestern.
By Stephen Autar
It may be winter quarter, but it feels so good to be back on campus. I left Evanston at the end of August, when my summer internship and lease ended, and just returned at the beginning of January after having had the immense pleasure of spending fall quarter in Boulder, Colorado, for my Journalism Residency (JR). It was 11 weeks that were definitely well spent.
I felt really bittersweet in the time leading up to JR, because who really wants to spend their last football season as an undergraduate away from campus? However, when I arrived in Colorado in the middle of September, the beauty of the place majorly softened the blow. The Flatirons — huge rock formations near Boulder — were absolutely stunning to wake up to every morning. But what was even more gorgeous for me was the fact that I got to live in sunshine everyday! During my 11 weeks in Boulder, it snowed only one week. Still, I was mesmerized every day that week by the fact that I could see the sun from the window near my desk in the newsroom.
As a journalism student on Medill's News/Online track, I was placed at Boulder’s newspaper, the Daily Camera, as a city desk reporter. It was my first experience in a newsroom, and I was more than slightly terrified at how much my lack of experience would be a hindrance. Despite that fear, I was excited to be a reporter and to explore the city covering news.
The Daily Camera is Boulder’s only daily newspaper and Boulder County’s largest daily newspaper. It's under the same ownership as The Denver Post, Colorado’s largest newspaper and the country’s ninth-largest. The Camera shared a newsroom and some staff with newspapers that are owned by the same company and cover neighboring cities and towns. What that meant for me (and every other reporter) was I got the chance to see my byline printed in several papers, including on the Denver Post’s website, which did not at all get old during my internship.
Boulder is a really cool, tech-heavy city, and the area is buzzing with startups. The business reporter once sent me to cover a “Demo Day” for startups in an accelerator program, where the entrepreneurs pitched the businesses they’d spent months working on to potential investors. I was a total fish out of water, but it was a great time, even if they spelled my name wrong on my nametag.
Since I was just an intern at the Daily Camera for a short time, I wasn't given a beat to cover, but I dubbed myself the unofficial Boulder nonprofit beat reporter. It seemed as if I was covering something about a nonprofit every other week, which was just fine with me. One story took me to the offices of an organization that focuses on teaching Earth stewardship to children, and their campus was right by Sombrero Marsh, which might have been the prettiest stretch of land in all of Boulder.
I started my JR with an online byline on my very first day(!!) and ended it with a story on the front page on my last day in the newsroom.
In between those days, I reported on over 30 stories that made it to print, and a few that didn’t pan out. Three others made it on the front page, and one about ballots was picked up by the Associated Press and ran on a few other news sites. I even took a yoga class named Broga for a features story. I worked with a fantastic editor, Matt Sebastian, and a great newsroom of reporters that included four Northwestern alums. I do not think I could have asked for nor imagined a better JR experience than the one I got.
A selection of Stephen's stories from his JR:
- Boulder County's mail-in ballots include 1-cent postage error
- CU-Boulder bumps Folsom St. Coffee Co. from campus perch
- Boulder's RunSafe partners with local stores to give out running safety app for free
- Mental Health Partners celebrates new wellness center in Boulder
- Boulder Creek Path to be extended to Betasso trailheads through $4.4M grant
- Boulder Indoor Soccer expands to new building, rebrands old center
- CU-Boulder Heritage Center unveiling LEGO replica of campus
- Boulder's beat book shop moves to new location after 24 years in business
- Boulder workout: Broga Yoga