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Down to the Wire: My Internship at the Associated Press

Written by Aaron Edwards '12
9/29/2011

Aaron Edwards '12 on the beat during an internship in Atlanta, GA.

Relieved to escape the London chill, I scanned my ID card, swung open the door, and entered a bustling newsroom with new faces. I reached back to pull off my jacket. 

“Don’t take your coat off just yet, Mr. Edwards. Do you know much about this phone-hacking situation happening in London?” 
 
Before I could answer, I was being handed a copy of an Associated Press article on the British police’s investigation into several claims made of journalists hacking into public figures’ cell phones. I heard the piercing wind howling outside and I had a feeling I was about to head right back into it. My editor shuffled through a few more papers and looked up at me from her set of five computer screens.
 
“We need you to go down to city hall. There’s a panel discussion going on there… well, right now. So you should hurry. Take notes, bring your recorder, and call me when you’re there. When you get back, I’ll want you to sit at your desk and type up a little story for us.” 
 
And there it was: I was off on my first assignment as an intern at the Associated Press London Bureau. A few questions I didn’t get to ask: 1. Where is city hall? 2. What’s the number here? 3. Where is my desk? 
 
Preparation for this moment—and the four months to follow—came from working at several news outlets across the country, including CBS News in New York, the New York Times Student Journalism Institute in New Orleans, and the Sunday Paper in Atlanta. But the place I learned the most and got my footing in journalism is right here on South Hill at Ithaca College’s student newspaper, the Ithacan
 
I have worked as news editor, assistant news editor, assistant arts and entertainment editor, and general reporter for the newspaper. This year, I’m serving as editor-in-chief. At the Ithacan, I learned how to craft a story and fully understand what it is you’re putting out to the public. But at the Associated Press (AP)—where my stories hit the international wires and got published in Time, USA Today, the Washington Post, and other national publications—I learned that lesson on a much larger scale. 
 
While interning at the AP, I wrote stories on London Fashion Week, interviewed actor Jesse Eisenberg and other stars at the British Academy of Film and Television Arts Awards, covered the largest protest gathering in London since the start of the Iraq war, kept track of rebel uprisings in the Middle East, and worked on the AP field team for the royal wedding of Prince William and his university sweetheart Kate Middleton. 
 
Working at the AP is very much a team effort. Since the company is a wire service that provides content to thousands of news outlets around the world, deadlines happen by the second. Any story I worked on required me to get it first, get it right, and, on top of all that, write it well. 
 
The global scale of the stories I worked on was reminiscent of my time at CBS News, where I worked on the national news desk gathering news bits and conducting preliminary interviews for pieces included in the Evening News broadcast with Katie Couric. 
 
Covering life at Ithaca College for the Ithacan gave me an amazing advantage as a student journalist. Because IC is a smaller college than most, the attention and focus given to stories I wrote for the paper made me a much better writer. When I filed my first story during freshman year, my editor sat me down, politely told me that it was a hot mess, and worked with me for hours to fine-tune it. 
 
I’ve developed a strong set of contacts and mentors over just three years as a journalist, and I owe it all to the newsroom in Ithaca that I still call home. But one thing is always consistent no matter where I’ve interned or worked: Through all the hard work, making a deadline and crashing at 3 a.m. still feels so victorious. 


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