By Elizabeth Scalzo
The coronavirus pandemic made for an extremely unusual spring semester, especially for college newspapers. Switching from on-campus reporting to remote reporting seems like it shouldn’t be difficult, but it brings many challenges: Reaching out to students wasn’t as simple as face-to-face and getting meetings with administrators is a challenge.
But the spring semester is gone, so what’s next?
Many college newspapers, including The Equinox, do minimal summer reporting because there just isn’t a lot going on. However, Summer 2020 has meant making other plans.
In the midst of the pandemic and with no knowledge of what the future of the fall semester would bring, The Equinox begins a “summer-internship experience” like no other on Monday, May 24 — yes, Memorial Day — there are no holidays when you are fast-tracking an internship program.
Professor Mo Krochmal, our advisor, Managing Editor Amaya Morales and I started planning a summer internship that would give members of The Equinox a chance to grow their journalism skills, in addition to writing. Students were also given the option to attend whatever journalism events they want and could.
Our experience is simply: What-you-put-in-you-will-get-out experience. No grades, no pay, just experience.
During our first Zoom meeting, the staff planned for an 11-12 week program with general, once-a-week meetings to assign stories, biweekly workshops to improve skills such as editing, social media and creating art; biweekly roundtable discussions to upload on YouTube to help paint the picture of what the fall semester will bring.
Each student has the option to sign up for courses on Poynter NewsU, then teach what they learned at one of the biweekly workshops.
Throughout the week, Amaya and I coached our new editorial staff to address goals and to get headed in the direction of the free courses on Poynter NewsU.
Then FDU sent out an email
— telling us our college internship program and summer will be cut short in order for students to finish the semester before Thanksgiving. We posted a story, by Nancy Sanchez-Diaz about this announcement that happened late afternoon on Friday, May 29, and we started to regroup.
Realizing The Equinox staff wants this internship was the best news of the week.
We had so many people signing up for multiple Poynter courses that we could have a total of 16 workshops throughout the summer. We also realize that going back to campus, even after the first three weeks of remote learning, raises a lot of questions that need to be answered.
We now plan to ask several different FDU staff members to join our six roundtable segments to answer questions about housing, dining, classes, safety precautions and much more.
With the first week of our internship over, several stories to post during week two and loads more stories to assign, it is safe to say that The Equinox internship staff will have a busy summer.
Not all bad news considering FDU doesn’t offer a journalism major and students at The Equinox will have a summer filled with intense news writing, interviewing, and overall skill building which will make future jobs and internships fair game when competing with schools who have an intense journalism program.
This is a journey like no other, and I am proud to be part of it. Make sure to follow us on Instagram @equinoxfdu and to check out our website https://fduequinox.wordpress.com/ to stay updated on everything that will be happening at FDU all summer long.
Photo By Equinox Staff
Zoom meeting for The Equinox banquet. This is the main form of communication now.