Vermont Cynic editor snags gig at USA Today College
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.