It’s been nearly a year since I sat in a room with 13 other interns, a handful of editors and alumni from the Snowden class of 2009. It was in that orientation session that I began my stint in what is arguably the most revered journalism training program in the state of Oregon.
The Snowden Program for Excellence in Journalism is administered through the University of Oregon School of Journalism of Communication and is coordinated by Pete Peterson, who, coincidentally, was once the adviser of The Torch at Lane Community College. (For those of you just joining us, that’s the newspaper for which I’m the editor and that recently won the Society of Professional Journalists’ best in show award for Region 10.)
Every year, approximately 15 college students are sent to about 14 Oregon publications — The Register-Guard in Eugene usually takes two interns — for 10 weeks and, more or less, thrown to the wolves as reporters, photographers and copy editors. And it’s not just any internship. In any given newsroom, these individuals stand out among the others. Every time Steve Bagwell, managing editor of The Yamhill County News-Register introduced me to somebody, he’d follow my name with “yep, he’s our Snowden.”
I didn’t fully understand how big a deal it was when I applied for my internship.