Summer 2021 investigative internship kickoff recap

In Spring, we announced an exciting new investigative partnership with five prestigious news organizations across the country to offer seven paid, 10-week summer internships. Since then, seven outstanding students and recent graduates were selected from a pool of hundreds and have each begun their programs at the New York Times, the USA Today Network, the MiamiHerald, The Associated Press and ProPublica.

Each internship position is being funded by the Society and provides training and mentorship to the interns throughout the 10-week program.

On June 25, the Society kicked off its training with the Society co-founders, staff and the summer interns. We had a great time learning about everyone with an icebreaker and the interns received some great advice from our co-founders. We were also joined by Senior Counsel at The New York Times, Dana Green, who provided some general tips and insight on rights, responsibilities and resources as a reporter.

Society co-founder and ProPublica reporter Topher Sanders shared a piece of advice, echoed by the other co-founders: “Do not be afraid to say I don’t know or I need help. Not only do working journalists do it, but the best journalists in the world do that.”

This year’s inaugural class of summer 2021 Ida B. Wells Society investigative interns includes:

Roselyn Romero, California Polytechnic University, San Luis Obispo – The Associated Press
Zshekinah Collier, American University – USA Today
Tyreye Morris, Morehouse College – USA Today
Luis Joel Méndez González, University of Puerto Rico at Arecibo – The Miami Herald
Donovan Thomas, Howard University – The New York Times
Alyssa Johnson, Northwestern University – ProPublica
Greg Morton, Howard University – ProPublica

Of the opportunity to be part of the first investigative class, Morton said: “A year ago I couldn’t have imagined this opportunity. Through this internship, Ida B. Wells Society and ProPublica have given me the chance as an early career journalist to take a step towards becoming the kind of writer I dream of becoming one day. Over the next 10 weeks, my greatest hope is to take full advantage of the mentorship, experiences, and resources this amazing opportunity will provide. In doing so, I want to affirm the idea that journalism is for everyone and that anyone with a story to tell and research skills can be a journalist.”

Throughout the duration of the internships, the students will have a number of weekly trainings covering an array of topics from backgrounding to sourcing that will be led by the co-founders Sanders, Nikole Hannah-Jones and Ron NIxon and along with some Ida B. Wells Society trainers. Each intern has also been assigned a professional journalist to serve as a mentor throughout the 10 weeks. Those mentors include: Andale Gross of The Associated Press; Raisa Habersham of Savannah Morning News; Bracey Harris of NBC News; Aaron Morrison of The Associated Press; Walter Smith-Randolph of Connecticut Public Broadcasting; Connor Sheets of Alabama Media Group; and Kat Stafford of The Associated Press.

The Society is thrilled to have these interns representing us and their respective organizations this summer. We know that they will be doing some fantastic work and we are excited to see all that they accomplish. 

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