Interns make headlines | August 10, 2012 | Pleasanton Weekly | |

Pleasanton Weekly

Arts & Entertainment - August 10, 2012

Interns make headlines

Summer work at Pleasanton Weekly proves rewarding

by Dolores Fox Ciardelli

Writing for a newspaper is not the same as producing a paper for a college English course. That's one thing intern Nicole Doi learned in her eight weeks working at the Pleasanton Weekly this summer.

Nicole, a junior at Seattle University majoring in English literature, said a college essay requires a lengthy introduction and easing into the subject matter. Journalism is different.

"You can't beat around the bush," Nicole said. "You have to get right down to it."

She applied for the internship wanting to explore newspaper writing and perhaps change her major.

"Since I've pretty much grown up here all my life I thought it would be neat to get that local journalism experience," she explained.

The job showed her Pleasanton from a new angle.

"I enjoyed meeting other Pleasantonians doing amazing things," she said, giving as an example her July 13 cover story on the Young American Patriots drum and fife band.

Intern Jamie Altman, a junior at Amador Valley High, was pursuing journalism before this summer, including being on the staff of Amadon, where she will be managing editor and news editor next year. She also writes news stories and reports on the air at AVTV.

Working this summer at the Weekly has improved her telephone and interviewing skills, she said.

"It's helped me so much, especially talking to people on the phone I don't know," she said. "This isn't a skill I had. When I first called for interviews, I was rambling."

"I liked being able to interact with others, I liked that aspect," Nicole said. "It was one of the challenging parts but I also enjoyed it."

She also liked the short deadlines.

"At school I'm a big procrastinator," Nicole said. "I like to work under pressure."

The two interns wrote for the Weekly and its sister online publications, Dublin Tri-Valley Views, the San Ramon Express and the Danville Express. Their summer duties included calling companies to get contact names for future projects.

"It wasn't the most fun thing but I learned so much from it. I learned you have to be an investigator to get names and addresses," Jamie said.

Nicole said she also enjoyed updating the Weekly's database on community groups and activities because she was surprised to learn that so much is going on in Pleasanton.

"Being an intern has given me a different perspective on Pleasanton," Jamie agreed. "I always viewed it as a boring town. But whoa! I didn't know there was so much news."

Her favorite part was a photography assignment.

"I liked going around and taking pictures for Readers Choice because there were a lot I didn't know existed -- like Valley Plumbing," she said. "Everyone was so nice and welcoming. I didn't know people were so nice."

Nicole recalled the very hot opening day of the Fair when she shot photos of people on the new White Water ride.

"It was interesting how some people don't like to be in the newspaper," she said. "I always thought everyone wanted to be in the paper."

Nicole swims for Seattle University and was also busy all summer training with Tri-Valley Aquatics. This background was useful for writing sports story for the Weekly.

As Jamie spent the summer writing, she learned to work quickly, she noted.

"I feel I've really come a long way. The first day I was so nervous," she said. "I'm now more confident -- I feel I could whip out these articles

Jamie was president of the UNICEF club at school, which raises money to help unfortunate people in Africa. She said an assignment for the Danville Express on Secret Millionaire Hilary DeCesare was a revelation, adding, "She's the best person ever. She's helped so many people, it really inspired me to help more in the UNICEF club."

She said her summer internship helped her to decide that she wants to major in communications or broadcast journalism in college.

Nicole is minoring in Japanese at Seattle U and is spending next year's spring quarter in Japan. She volunteers at the Japanese school in Pleasanton, which has language and cultural classes, and attends Stockton Buddhist Church.

She said working at the Weekly has been an eye opener.

"I have a greater appreciation for newspaper and magazines," she said. "It was a great learning experience."