Funded by the North Carolina Local News Lab Fund and housed in Elon’s School of Communications, the local news initiative will support four student journalists this summer as they cover the impact of COVID-19 and other important stories across North Carolina.
The North Carolina Local News Workshop, which officially launched on June 1, welcomes four student journalists as part of the local news initiative’s inaugural Intern Corps. These interns will assist state news outlets this summer and cover important North Carolina stories, with a reporting emphasis on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Headquartered at Elon’s School of Communications, the NC Local News Workshop was established in mid-May with support from a $180,000 grant from the North Carolina Local News Lab Fund. The workshop is led by Melanie Sill, a former top editor and news executive at The News & Observer, Sacramento Bee and Southern California Public Radio /KPCC.
During the eight-week paid internship, the interns will receive professional experience producing stories for digital, social media, print and broadcast organizations. In turn, they will provide additional journalism capacity to news organizations, supporting news and information that respond to community needs and gaps. This includes public affairs coverage by and for black and Latinx residents, rural communities, or people otherwise missing or missed by news coverage. The interns’ work is available at no cost to news outlets.
Susan Ladd, an experienced North Carolina editor and Elon University adjunct journalism instructor, will direct the intern team.
“The Intern Corps aims to meet two main needs – professional development for students, some of whom had internships canceled, and added capacity for newsrooms to continue their great work on COVID-19. It’s also an experiment with pooled resources, and illustrates our plans to be nimble and responsive, and to share what we learn as we go.” – Melanie Sill
“Newsrooms are challenged as never before to cover communities thoroughly and thoughtfully,” Ladd said. “Our interns bring passion, journalistic excellence and multimedia skills to help supplement their efforts without requiring one-on-one supervision from overstressed editors.”
Interested in partnering with the Intern Corps? Sill and Ladd are hosting an online information session for news organizations on Wednesday, June 3, at 9 a.m., to ask questions, share input, and learn how to use the Intern Corps.
Brief introductions of the interns are below, accompanied by photographs.
Riley Davis, who grew up in Los Angeles, recently completed her master’s degree in science journalism at the UNC Hussman School of Journalism and Media, with a focus on science, environment and medical reporting. She wrote for the Brown Daily Herald while earning her undergraduate degree at Brown University, and has freelanced for the Huffington Post, Southerly magazine, and other publications, including a March article for the HuffPost on a homeless shelter trying to stay open amid the pandemic.
Anton L. Delgado, who grew up in the Philippines capital city of Manila, is a 2020 graduate of Elon University, where he double-majored in journalism and international and global studies. During the pandemic, he served as managing editor at Elon News Network, managing staffers across several states producing stories for the student newspaper and website. He also has worked as a reporting fellow for the Pulitzer Center for Crisis Reporting since November 2019, investigating the resurgence of leprosy in Brazil and the lack of available resources.
Marco Quiroz-Gutierrez, who is from Wake Forest, is a 2020 graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he earned a business journalism degree at the Hussman School of Journalism and Media. Quiroz-Gutierrez was co-editor-in-chief of The Daily Tar Heel during his senior year, and managing editor in the year prior, and worked as a business intern for The Charlotte Observer in summer 2019. During the pandemic, he has reported on restaurant workers who lost their livelihoods.
Khaaliq Van-Otoo, a Philadelphia native, is a rising junior at Elon University majoring in journalism. He got his reporting start in high school at the Abington Friends School and through young journalists’ programs at WHYY in Philadelphia and the Philadelphia Inquirer. Van-Otoo also works as a student coordinator for Elon’s Center for Race, Ethnicity, and Diversity Education, and has developed social media and communication skills through internships and jobs with a variety of organizations.
The intern positions are paid ($4,000 stipend for eight weeks) and full time with flexibility based on the student’s circumstances. The internships can be used for academic credit in coordination with the student’s home institution, which must be a North Carolina college or university.
The gift to support the North Carolina Local News Workshop is counted as part of the $250 million Elon LEADS Campaign. The partnership with the Local News Lab Fund has a goal of collectively raising funds to support the on-going programs of the workshop. Elon LEADS is the largest campaign in the university’s history and will provide new funding for scholarships, access to engaged learning opportunities such as the workshop, faculty and staff mentors, and development of the campus. To date, donors have contributed $192 million toward the campaign goal.