Day 4 of our 10-day poster event takes us into The Vermont Cynic newsroom, where photographer Emma Oyomba tells us, “I like the Cynic because it allows me to get outside my comfort zone and try new things.”
We couldn’t have said it better.
They’re new and getting posted all around you!
With the new school year upon us, it’s time to wrap up Internship August. There’s no better place to end than with WRUV DJ Lilly Xian enjoying her role as a college student helping entertain and educate tots so tiny that they’re still pre-students.
BY LILLY XIAN
The position: Community Music Intern
- The company: Music for Sprouts
- The place: Bread and Butter Farm in Shelburne, Vermont
This summer has been delicious, to say the least.
Week after week, as the sun bakes the lake and the harvest fills our bellies, the “sprouts” at Bread and Butter Farm keep me energized and nourished.
At the family-owned farm, Corie grows food, her partner Chris plays music with kids, Adam bakes bread, and Erik landscapes. The sprouts, or toddlers up to age three, and their families join Chris and me on the farm to celebrate their land and community during Burger Nights and Music for Sprouts, a music and movement class.
My involvement with Bread and Butter Farm began to unfold one winter evening when I agreed to accompany a friend to the Outdoor Gear Exchange, despite the urge to turn back and seek shelter from the pelting sleet. As I dawdled through the rows of wool socks, I spotted “Mister Chris,” as the sprouts call him, with two children, all of whom I recognized from the Music for Sprouts online media.
The encounter could not have been more timely, since I had planned to contact Chris before leaving soon thereafter for a semester-long trip. I approached him with my ideas about connecting people to their land, food system, and community through culture, specifically food and music. After a few Skype meetings throughout the spring, we arranged for me to join him in facilitating the Music for Sprouts classes and transforming the field at the farm into a music venue for the weekly Burger Nights.
As we sing about pollinators, rain, and growing food, the gasps and giggles from toddlers season the hazy days with excitement. On a few occasions, we have ventured off the farm to play with children at an elementary school in upstate New York and the Middlebury Festival Off the Green. Regardless of the location, some children stand rooted and gaze attentively at us while others call out bird names, bobble in their parents’ arms, embrace other sprouts, or run off to reach prematurely for the bread snack.
The occasional skirmish over a ukulele stirs up conflict between kiddos, but so goes sharing among people of all ages.
Burger Night, which takes place each Friday from May to September, features beef, buns, greens, cookies, and beverages from the farm, crafts, and a band of the folk, bluegrass, or blues variety. I was in charge of setting up and operating the sound system for Burger Nights, which required repetition as well as extreme attention for the bands with over ten microphones.
Over the course of the summer, I have learned to run the system independently, which is especially valued on the busiest evenings. Aside from a few canceled nights due to predicted inclement weather, these Fridays have been the prime location for moonrises, shimmying boughs and children frolicking through the clover.
Coming up, we’ll head to the Catskill Mountains to play the Summer Hoot Festival at the Ashokan Center, which fosters place-based educational experiences in nature, history, and the arts. I’m looking forward to networking with these folks to develop ideas for the Music for Sprouts fall session curriculum, and to continue nourishing my own connection to this land, food system, and community.
INTERNSHIP AUGUST Spotlight Post #4: Accepting my mistakes while learning to report for a daily newspaper
Last week, we told you about Vermont Cynic staffer Taylor Feuss being accepted as the latest USA Today collegiate correspondent for our region. Today, as part of Internship August, we present her account of the summer internship that she was finishing up when USA Today snagged her.
Coincidence? Probably not. After all, the best way to get your next job is to kick booty in your current job. Part of that experience, Feuss says, involves making mistakes . . .
BY TAYLOR FEUSS
- The position: News Features Intern
- The company: The Bergen Record
- The place: North New Jersey
In my time working as managing editor at The Vermont Cynic I knew that I had a passion for journalism. I knew that this was a field that I wanted to explore. That passion is what drove me to begin searching (in October!) for a summer internship close my home in northern New Jersey.
A good family friend of mine was the former editor-in-chief of our region’s most popular publication, The Bergen Record, and therefore he had connections at various publications in the area. He put me in contact with many people, from managing editors to operations directors.
The journey of getting in contact with someone so high up at these professional organizations, is just that, a journey—and a rough one at that. These people get so many emails daily, so I knew that I had to make my mark, I had to show how interested in the position I was, how I was the perfect candidate, and I had to make sure that my voice was heard.
I constantly emailed them pieces that I’d written, or I would send them an email just to check in. This determination and dedication is what helped me stand out from the other applicants and helped me land the job.
I started my work as a features intern/staff writer in early June. Now, I consider myself to be a primarily news and sports writer, but in this field you need to be well versed in everything. I was excited to learn more about features writing and improve myself as a journalist.
However, I struggled at first to make my writing seem less “newsy” and more of the features style that was expected of me. I felt I wasn’t learning anything beneficial for my career.
There were times that I didn’t do well; there were times that I screwed up (BIG) and lost faith in my ability as a journalist. But my mom sat me down and told me that this was normal, that everyone screws up and that I just have to keep pushing through, stand up for myself and keep being open to learning because that in itself is part of what being a journalist is about: screwing up, learning from it and getting back out there, pen in hand.
So I stopped feeling sorry for myself and worked even harder. Now as I sit at my desk on my last day, reflecting on the more than two months I’ve spent here, I know that I learned a lot. Learning how to write for features drastically improved my writing skills as a news writer and as a journalist in general.
I learned tricks for giving an interview. I also learned more about how journalism operates at a professional level. That will be key for me as I continue to move higher in the field.
Most of all I learned that I am going to mess up, I’m going to write some bad stories, I’m going to disagree with my editors, I’m going to get yelled at sometimes for my mistakes, but each and every part of that is a building block to make me into the journalist that I aspire to be.
As we tweeted yesterday, the Vermont Cynic managing editor has become the fifth Cynic journalist in just three years to be accepted as a USA Today collegiate correspondent. We asked the editor in question, Taylor Feuss, to give us a rundown of the competitive process that led her to the job.
BY TAYLOR FEUSS
Today (Aug. 11) I got the email that I was accepted into the fall 2014 USA Today Collegiate Correspondent Program! I had to pass through three rounds to get here.
The first involved applying with my resume, a cover letter, recommendation letter and so on. The second round I had to write an original article (500 words) of something that pertained to college students.
I chose to write about American students abroad in Israel during wartime. I interviewed people from multiple college campuses that were on Birthright Israel, and I interviewed a fellow colleague of mine at the Cynic who was working as an intern at The Jerusalem Post.
For round three we had to have a 15-minute interview with people from the collegiate correspondent program.
They started off the convo by congratulating me, saying that more than 100 students apply for this and only 10 made it to the final round. I’m not sure how many of us made it all the way through.
They asked how I respond in certain stressful situations and then asked me to come up with a story idea that pertains to college students, on the spot.
My idea was related to a friend at UMass Amherst who has Cystic Fibrosis. He recently got an infection from another student while working in a science lab for the summer. The infection can be fatal, and now he must change his whole way he lives. They thought it was an interesting and different idea.
Working at the Cynic I have seen other students before me—such as Devin Karambelas and Katy Cardin—working for the program, and I always looked up to them. I knew that this program was something I wanted to be a part of. So this summer I went out on a limb and applied.
Here are all the dates for completing the process for the fall program.
- July 6 – July 22: Application is open
- July 25: Notification to those moving to second round of application process
- August 4: Notification to those selected for final round of application process
- August 11: Fall 2014 Collegiate Correspondents notified & Contributing Writer Program invitations issued
- August 25: Program begins
- August 25 – December 12: Fall Collegiate Correspondent Program
Natalie DiBlasio—the 2011 Cynic editor-in-chief and now a full-time USA Today reporter—was also a great mentor and role model throughout the process. I learned so much from her. She is fantastic.
It’s such an honor to be accepted into this great program! I am beyond excited to begin working for USA TODAY and follow in the footsteps of my former Cynics. I look forward to learning all that I can from the experience, on my way to becoming a better journalist.