First Internship Revealing Many Journalists Reality

Ava Pacariello, age 20, explains her experience of interning for an ad-revenue driven newsroom
organization in Manhattan, NY.

Ava at her internship for Cheddar News. Photo courtesy of Cheddar News

I interned for Cheddar News this past summer three days a week, 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. in
Manhattan. Sometimes, you feel like the journalism industry is competitive and that’s something
I was really worried about. At school, sometimes, people don’t want to divulge anything.
My aunt works there so she told me about it. It was a remote interview, which I was really
nervous for. There were three interns, including me, and we were their first ones ever.
Everybody was very welcoming and excited to have younger people. A lot of the time they were
asking for our input because we had fresher eyes into the industry and they wanted to know what
we wanted to watch. So they were asking us, “Is this something you or your friends would want
to see?”

The commute was rough. It was about two hours door to door. The train station itself is 20
minutes from my house. My train ride was at least an hour and then I had to take the subway all
the way down. It was a 20 minute-long subway ride. I was paid minimum wage for it, though.
I worked for the business segments. I would read through the morning scripts to see what they
covered in the morning so if I was to pitch something, I would not have repeated anything. At 10
a.m., we would have our meeting for the noon show and go over every block of the segments for
the show. Then, I would message the reporter on Slack that was doing the business hit what with
updates if anything was going to be new for the noon show.

I gathered elements for a story. If there was a story on gas prices changing, I would go on Getty
Images for gas stations. There were also little mini stories I got to write. When Olivia Rodrigo’s
new song came out, they had me write a reader on it. I just had to make sure these were under 30
seconds. After that, I got a clip from the music video, found the time from it that I wanted and
put it into the software we used. Learning the software was probably the biggest learning curve.
About two weeks in, they were doing layoffs and nobody knew. Once I got there, someone
walked out of human resources and said, “They just told me to pack my things.” It lasted two

One by one they were getting called in and were just dropping like flies, not even staying
through the rest of the day.

I was sitting there thinking, “Oh my God. I feel so guilty.” The girl I was shadowing was 23, so she was two years older than me and it was her first job. The magazine’s revenue is ad-based so if people aren’t watching through, there is no money being generated.

The coolest part was watching something you wrote air on TV and listening to the anchor read
off something that you wrote or watching the pictures you put in go on the screen. Sometimes,
the two reporters would go back and forth and have a little discussion about what you wrote. It
gave me a chance to show my writing.

Justin Donders

Justin Donders is a 20-year-old student attending SUNY New Paltz. He is a senior majoring in journalism and minoring in creative writing, who plans on pursuing a career in music journalism. Donders was a contributor and copy editor for the New Paltz Oracle from 2022 to 2023 and has been a contributor and radio host for Doors At Seven since the summer of 2023. He loves listening to music, coffee and writing.

Next Post

Simon Woods’ newfound perspective on theater

Mon Oct 23 , 2023
Woods, who plays Derek in “Aloha, Say the Pretty Girls,” speaks on the generosity of performance. Simon Woods, a SUNY New Paltz senior from Schenectady, […]

You May Like


Twitter feed is not available at the moment.