The Columns

Interns at Work: Janey Fugate ’15 El Nuevo Herald, Miami, Florida

— by on September 5th, 2016

Janey Fugate '15

“I speak Spanish and have a longstanding interest in Latin American culture and politics. This internship perfectly bridged my two majors–Romance languages and journalism.”

How did you learn about this internship?

The Todd Smith Fellowship supports an internship at El Nuevo Herald in Miami for a journalism student fluent in Spanish and interested in international, multicultural reporting. The grant was created to honor Todd Smith, a W&L graduate of 1982 and professional journalist who was killed in Peru while reporting on the Shining Path terrorist group and drug traffickers.

What gave you the edge in landing this internship?

I speak Spanish and have a longstanding interest in Latin American culture and politics. This internship perfectly bridged my two majors–Romance languages and journalism.

Describe your daily duties.

The nature of reporting made everyday in Miami different from the one before. I would either be out reporting on assignment, making calls or writing from the office, following python hunters at night, going to the police station or the courthouse.

What was your favorite part or perk of the internship?

I really enjoyed getting to know the reporters and editors I worked with. The Miami Herald/ El Nuevo Herald has a positive atmosphere in their newsroom that facilitated good relationships among employees.

How did you like living in the city where the internship was located?

Miami is an urban wilderness. Nearly every ethnicity is represented there, and the striking contrast between ritzy South Beach and other, poorer neighborhoods like Hialeah or Sweetwater makes the city a story hunter’s paradise. Having lived in South America the summer before, at times I really felt like I was back there and not in the U.S. While I really enjoyed the city’s cultural vibrancy, I am truly surprised that my car and I are collectively still in one piece.

What key takeaways/skills will you bring back to W&L?

More than anything else, I learned the value of experience-based reporting. This was something my mentor reporter, Brenda Medina, taught me. This means discussing hunting regulations with python wrestlers, meeting immigrant street peddlers under the hot Miami sun, sitting through tedious city hall meetings, and searching for communities no one else is covering. Every place is a bundle of complexities, just as every human is. With this understanding, I learned that reporters must actively seek out the ignored as much as we closely investigate public figures.

What advice would you give to students interested in a position like this?

Be ready to hit the ground running. El Nuevo’s editors treat interns like part of the team. I was expected to be ready to produce content for the paper/online and confidently enter new situations right off the bat. My advice is to say yes to every story and then go meet the people and see the places you write about.

Will you pursue a career in this field after graduation?

Yes! This internship really solidified my ambition to become a journalist, especially one that can work in multiple languages.

Describe your experience in a single word.

Adventurous