On Friday I started my new job as Digital News Intern at National Geographic. At first I thought I wasn’t ready for such a large responsibility. But I know I’m good enough for my job and so are you, here’s why:
Great Opportunities are Uncomfortable
A few months ago, I was sitting in a classroom in London, England when Emma Barnett, women’s editor at The Daily Telegraph, said that great opportunities are uncomfortable. Barnett had just pitched an idea to start a women’s section for a predominately conservative British male newspaper. The paper had accepted her proposal and she was quickly growing her resources as the new leading editor of the women’s section.
“A big part of journalism is rejection,” she said. “The best ideas will make you feel a little uncomfortable.”
Modern journalism, especially print journalism, is changing. As a result, the publications that are getting ahead of the curve are the ones to put forth the most interesting information in a way that the public will enjoy it. Therefore, my new job as Digital News Intern is the perfect opportunity to feel a little uncomfortable. It’s my job to come up with new ideas. Many of my ideas may be rejected, but it will be worth it to create successful digital projects.
Learning is a Privilege
Dan Vergano, senior writer and editor at National Geographic, sits behind me in the office. He has more than 14-years of experience writing science stories for USA Today. Not to blow on his horn here, but he has more knowledge about science journalism in his pinky finger than I do in my entire collection of journalism notes.
The whole point of being an intern is to glean from seasoned professionals. Otherwise we’d have young doctors peeking at their notebooks during surgery and new lawyers watching My Cousin Vinny in the hallways of courthouses.
I signed-up for three months of work experience. They chose me because there was something in my internship application that sparked their interest. It’s a honor to work alongside the best in the industry. As described perfectly by Tanya Basu, the News Apprentice before me, “At first you’ll feel like you are miles behind everyone else; you are supposed to, just keep on going.” (Thank you, Tanya.)
Having a Vision
The day before I started as the new Digital News Intern, I decided to walk around the National Geographic Museum. The main exhibit is “Women of Vision”—a collection of photography and stories from successful Geographic women photographers. It changed my outlook on my life and role as a journalist.
The “Women of Vision” gallery tells an often overlooked story about women that are giving their lives to write and take photos of other people around the world. They have endured so much pain to get where they are today, as are the people they are photographing.
This is something I had prepared myself for while I was studying International Journalism at City University. But, after standing face-to-face with a job that could potentially put me in this position, I am now both happy to make this type of sacrifice to become a storyteller and scared that I might lose the opportunity to do this before I ever begin.
I’ve realized that either way this opportunity has taught me something about myself: I want to tell stories and I want to tell them well. Before coming to this realization, I had a vision of what this job wanted from me. Now I’ve realized that I also needed to have a clear vision of what I’d like to achieve from it.
I have the chance to learn from this career opportunity, and although the internship and all that it encompasses can be harrowing at times, I’ve never been so happy to feel uncomfortable.