Morgan Minix reflects on OpenElections internship
Morgan Minix, a senior journalism student at Howard University, participated in this summer’s OpenElections internship, a partnership with the Ida B. Wells Society to support HBCU students who are interested in journalism. The internship, which ran from June to August 2020, was held remotely due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The interns were asked to collect local precincts’ election results and evaluate that data for a news story. (See here.)
“Just going to Howard and being in D.C., you get interested in politics almost by osmosis. Being in an election year and getting to learn more about the data side of journalism with Open Elections was really interesting to me. I hadn’t had a lot of experience with data in my classes yet, and I’m interested in investigative journalism, so I wanted to learn more.
We learned how to actually collect the data and use it. You need to understand the laws behind data collection, what information is publicly available to you as a journalist and as a citizen. Different laws in different areas can make that difficult, especially rural areas, so it wasn’t always as easy to get as you’d like. It was good to learn what to do with the data when you get it, how to use it for insights not only on the election results, but also on how people vote, and how their voting has changed and how election officials are using elections data for their own benefit.
With the pandemic and everyone being on lockdown, I had been worried I wouldn’t have an internship. To get to spend the summer doing something like this where I’m actually learning something new about journalism, and in an election year, is something I’m very thankful for.”