It suddenly occurs to me, as I sit at my desk in the newsroom with my red Samsonite suitcase waiting for my flight home for Christmas, that this is my last day as a National Journalism Center intern.
I recently looked back over the blog post I wrote at the end of my TWT internship. How different that whirlwind summer in D.C. was from working at the News-Press! It was a wonderful experience. I covered everything from stolen WWII memorials in the Mojave Desert to home schooling laws in Sweden, and every story brought me into contact with great sources, most of whom I’ll never speak to again.
National news is like that. A good story comes up, you call the appropriate sources, follow it till it’s over, and move on.
Local news is completely different. As I looked through stories I’ve written during this second three-month internship, there are certain threads running through my stories, corresponding with the growing list of contacts in the back of my Molskine planner.
There’s the City Council, of course. That’s my beat. Every Friday when the agenda for the next week’s meeting comes out, I call up council members and we chat about what’s going to be important on that agenda. And every Tuesday, I sit in their meetings. That sounds boring, but local government is where everything begins, and I find it fascinating. Inside those council chambers decisions are made every week that affect the lives of thousands of Santa Barbara residents, including me.
Another trend that’s easy to track in my bylines is the homeless issue. It’s a huge problem in Santa Barbara. You can see it in so many stories: hearings on operational permits for a homeless shelter; community action groups that have formed in the past several months to address panhandling, graffiti, and other problems; thanksgiving dinners for hundreds of homeless people; profiles of the people on the street.
I have to say, for the past three months, the City Council and homelessness have claimed my time. There are the other usual stories too, like awards ceremonies and stabbing incidents and all the other things that happen in every town. But unlike my time at TWT, I’ve built up a routine, and there are sources I talk to several times a week. I really appreciate that about local news.
Once this day ends and I fly off to the beautiful Pacific Northwest, I will no longer be an intern. I’ll return a staff writer, and I am so thankful and excited the Lord blessed with me with the opportunity. This is such a great newsroom. We have an awesome team, and I really do love my work.
I’ve also settled into Santa Barbara, though it is not what I expected! I love my church, Calvary Chapel Santa Barbara. Sundays and Wednesdays my friend Lauren and I get to spend with our CCSB family, and Tuesdays we have Bible study with some amazing girls. Those nights are the highlights of my week. There is no family like the Body of Christ.
And so, with a real title and a real job, I am about to embark on the life of a Grown Up. We will see how The Old Fashioned Girl (a la Louisa May Alcott) makes it in the real world. All I know is, God does His own good pleasure in my life, taking me where I least expect, and I love to watch it unfold.