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By Nicholas Hodell
Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication has partnered with the Dow Jones News Fund (DJNF) to host a virtual digital media training program for top collegiate journalism students from around the country.
The program is designed to give emerging young journalists crucial skills training to help launch their careers and increase diversity in newsrooms throughout America.
Twenty-one journalism students participated in the Dow Jones News Fund Digital Training Program, which is in its ninth year at Arizona State University. The program ran from May 21-29 and was the second consecutive year it was held virtually.
Paige Barnes, a recent graduate of Columbia College in Chicago, said that she is proud to be a part of this year’s diverse group of students as an Asian American.
“Seeing people like myself [and] knowing that they are going places, like seeing all the other people of color, really means a lot,” Barnes said. “I appreciate that we are not stuck in this glass elevator where we can’t reach higher positions like our white counterparts.”
The Dow Jones News Fund offers programs at universities across the country, but the digital training at Cronkite served the most students of any DJNF program this year. Other programs offered by four other universities across the country through the Dow Jones News Fund include training on business reporting, data journalism and multiplatform editing.
The digital media program included sessions teaching a wide range of skills such as visual storytelling, newsroom metrics, basic coding, infographics, and audio production. Students receive instruction from top journalism professionals and listen to guest speakers from some of the top media outlets and organizations in the country.
Students will use the lessons learned from the Cronkite-hosted training program to work in paid internships at companies such as The Wall Street Journal, AccuWeather, The Arizona Republic, USA Today (Nashville) and The Austin American-Statesman.
Mel Fronczek, a recent graduate of Indiana University Bloomington, said the program gave her skills that other journalism seminars and programs she attended in the past did not.
“A lot of the speakers have given me technical skills training,” Fronczek said. “I’ve just been really excited by a lot of the sessions [and it’s] making me really excited to start my internship and start doing things for the news organization I am going to work for.”
Barnes also said the program was very “insightful” and she hopes to share the skills she is learning through the program with other journalists.
“[I hope] that I will use these skills for many, many years to come,” Barnes said. “I hope to pass these down to other journalists. I haven’t started my internship yet, but this training is just the tip of the iceberg for hopefully where I can launch my career.”
The students also worked on a multimedia project during the program. This year’s project “Back in Business” was devoted to the reopening of communities throughout America as hundreds of millions of Americans received COVID-19 vaccinations. Mike Wong, the leader of the program and the Cronkite School’s director of career services, said the project is scheduled to launch on June 17.
Wong said that programs like the one through the Cronkite School shows how much the Dow Jones News Fund supports the next generation of journalists.
“The Dow Jones News Fund has been very instrumental in helping students find internships and placing students in internships and really supporting journalism education and making sure that a whole new generation of journalists are getting the skills training they need through a program like this,” Wong said.
Jessica Davis, a senior director with the USA Today in Nashville, has three interns in this year’s group of students in the digital media training program. She was also able to hire the organization’s intern from last year’s group as a full-time producer.
She said the quality of students that come through the program makes participating in the program as an employer an easy decision.
“Dow Jones interns are so talented, smart and ambitious,” Davis said. “I’m so proud that we are continuing our relationship with the Dow Jones program.”
The complete list of 2021 Dow Jones News Fund digital media interns and their internship assignments for this summer is listed below.
Paige Barnes, Columbia College, Chicago; AccuWeather
Janat Batra, Georgia Institute of Technology; International Center for Journalists
Jordan Brown, Morgan State University in Baltimore; Patch in Baltimore
Erin Burnett, University of Maryland; WBAL-TV in Baltimore
Ella Malena Feldman, Rice University in Houston; Austin American-Statesman
Jing Feng, New York University; National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Brittney Forbes, Louisiana State University; Wall Street Journal
Jasmine Franklin, Grambling State University in Grambling, LA; Shelterforce in Montclair, NJ
Mel Fronczek, Indiana University Bloomington, USA Today Nashville
Marissa Garcia, Cornell University in Ithaca, NY; CalMatters in Sacramento
Héctor García De León, University of Central Florida, USA Today Nashville
Ellen Hine, Indiana University Bloomington; Kansas City Star
Jada Hoffman, Lewis University in Romeoville, IL; WKOW-TV in Madison, WI
Cheryn Hong, Barnard College at Columbia University in New York City; The 74
Rachel Hunt, University of Maryland; The Arizona Republic
Sarah Komar, University of Arkansas; The Arizona Republic
Olivia Marble, Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, MA; Central Connecticut Communications
Riley Robinson, Northeastern University in Boston; VTDigger in Montpelier, VT
Christine Sanchez, St. Edward’s University in Austin, TX; USA Today Nashville
Marci Suela, San José State University in San Jose, CA; The Marshall Project in New York City