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|| News Item: Posted 2007-09-24

Intern Diaries: The Albuquerque Journal
'Despite living here for 18 years I learned more in my 6 months at the Journal about this city than I did for living here for years, and I think that's pretty cool.'

By Sam Adams, The Albuquerque Journal

Photo by Sam Adams / The Albuquerque Journal

Photo by Sam Adams / The Albuquerque Journal

Spring Fling Clown
(Editor's note: At the end of each summer, it has been a tradition at the Sports Shooter Newsletter to have several students share their experiences working at an internship.)

Hey, so coming home isn't such a bad thing. With one internship down, and looking for another one, I never expected to land myself back at my hometown paper. I always looked at internships as a chance to go some place special, some place new, so coming home wasn't exactly on the top of my list.

I looked around for a while thinking of all these places I wanted to go and see; thinking how cool it would be to end up in this part of the country for a few months, but it wasn't till I came back home from school for a visit that I began thinking about The Albuquerque Journal.

I already knew the photo editors and photographers at the Journal from my years in high school when I did some stringing work for them, so I decided on one of my days off to go visit the group and say hi.

It ended up being the best thing I did that whole trip. Photo editor Jaime Dispenza recommended that I think about doing their internship. At first I didn't put much thought into it, I still wanted to go some place new and different, and besides I thought I already knew what it was like to be at the Journal, since I had already did a few assignments for them. So I kind of put it in the back of my head.

It wasn't until later that the thought of coming home to do an internship become so appealing as I began to think about my future after graduation from Brooks. So one afternoon after looking at my options, I decided to go for it and apply, so off I sent the portfolio. A few weeks after sending in my portfolio I got an email from Jaime letting me know they wanted to bring me on for their spring internship.

At first I felt like I cheated on getting this internship; usually they post their internship openings on the NPPA Internship Board, but this time around they didn't it was just me who sent in a portfolio to see if they were interested.

The more I thought about this I realized that it wasn't "cheating" by any means, that's just how things work in this industry. Knowing the right people, not just when it comes to internships but anything, gives you a major advantage over your competition. Anyone thinking about an internship should take into consideration; knowing people at a paper or any place you'd like to intern at gives you that advantage.

I began my internship in January and immediately I notice a huge change from when I was there as a stringer to being the intern. From day one I was treated like staff with assignments that matched. They gave me a chance to excel by giving me a wide variety of work, and not just the stuff that the staff couldn't cover. With in the first couple weeks was getting a few A-1 assignments mixed in with my daily work. In my previous internships and stringing positions these assignments were really only open to staffers.

Photo by Sam Adams / The Albuquerque Journal

Photo by Sam Adams / The Albuquerque Journal

Triple A Home Run Derby
Getting my first few A-1 assignments was kind of scary. You know you absolutely have to make an image, and then when you come back you don't have the freedom to choose which images you want for publication; its an editing process with my editor who after he and I discussed our choices he would then take the images into the afternoon meeting where another group of editors look at it and place their ideas and opinions on the images, and what feels like you when they turn the images down.

For the first few A-1 assignments I cringed when I got them, it felt like I had twenty people breathing down my neck, not to mention Jaime calling me, what seemed like, every ten minutes for a status report.

No matter how much I cringed every time picked up the assignment sheet and it said in big letters on the front "A-1". Having both Jaime and Matt Bernhardt, the assigning editor, taking the time to give me these high profile assignments and work with me on them really gave me a chance to learn how to handle myself under pressure; which was something that hadn't been put on me in my previous positions.

My time at the Journal gave me much more than just feeling comfortable with big assignments. It gave me a chance to not only produce some nice images, but to learn even more about the city I live in.

I was born and raised in Albuquerque, NM, but no matter how much I felt that I knew Albuquerque, my time at the Journal really gave me a chance to understand the city I live in, not just the roads and the different parts of town, but to understand all the separate communities, groups, and people in the city. Despite living here for 18 years I learned more in my 6 months at the Journal about this city than I did for living here for years, and I think that's pretty cool.

I want to thank everyone at the Journal for taking the time to help me and making my time there so memorable and worthwhile.

(Sam Adams is a student at the University of New Mexico. You can see his work on his member page at:

Related Links:
Sam's member page

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