USA TODAY NETWORK — Tennessee: A collective effort
I’m a sports intern for USA TODAY NETWORK — Tennessee. My home base is at the Tennessean in Nashville, but as I’ve come to learn, it really is a collective effort.
USA TODAY NETWORK — Tennessee is comprised of The Tennessean in Nashville, the Commercial Appeal in Memphis, the Jackson Sun, the Knoxville News-Sentinel, the Daily News Journal in Murfreesboro, the Leaf Chronicle in Clarksville, and other newsrooms in the area. Since a lot of the content is shared and distributed among the newsrooms, I’ve had bylines in each of our major papers. It’s really cool to see all the networks in Tennessee come together to provide coverage for the entire state. You don’t see that too many places, and I think it’s extremely reflective of the USA TODAY NETWORK’s philosophy.
Another thing I’ve loved about working here is how I’m getting a chance to rotate through different departments in the newsroom. For example, I worked with the breaking news team during my second week. This was a brand new experience for me and, as cliche as it might sound, I honestly didn’t know what to expect. But during my week on the desk I learned how to follow police scanners, report traffic accidents, find incoming weather updates / reach out to meteorologists, dig up news in the system’s archive, and I even got a chance to sit in on a Federal Court hearing.
In addition to my work with the breaking news team, I’ve also worked with the digital/social media team. They taught me how to find trending topics in the area and how I can use that to my advantage when writing headlines. I’ve learned efficient ways to live blog events by embedding tweets and Instagram videos, a great way of showing what people are saying about the event. Additionally, I’ve learned how to put together short videos to assist my stories, which improves the overall digital experience for the public. This is a beneficial skill for when working in a digital-first newspaper.
All of the above can absolutely transfer over to sports, bringing me to the bulk of my internship.
My first week on the job, I was assigned to cover a Formula 1 powerboat race. Before this internship, I didn’t even know Formula 1 powerboat races were a thing. Nonetheless, this assignment forced me to study up and do some research to ensure that I was well-prepared. The race ended up being a lot of fun, and I’ve tried to take that approach to everything that I’ve done here.
I love writing feature stories, and that’s where I think the USA TODAY NETWORK — Tennessee and I are a perfect match. My editors encourage me to go out and find a profile or a feature story whenever I go out on assignment. Our mindsets are essentially the same — chasing that human interest story or the bigger picture in everything you do. By the time my internship is over, I’ll have written features about powerboat races, golf, the Nashville Predators, the Tennessee Titans, the English Premier League, and the U.S. Men’s National soccer team from the Gold Cup, just to name a few.
The amount of trust my supervisors have placed in me as an intern is something you don’t see at other companies across the country, and this aspect is indicative of the NETWORK as a whole.