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  • Graham Vyse 1:17 am on April 3, 2010 Permalink | Reply  

    Researching for Jack Shafer, Slate’s Media Critic 

    Jack Shafer

    Great day yesterday. I admit I was initially a little bummed to have to come into the office, because it was so beautiful outside, but I ended up having an awesome time. For the second time this semester, I did research for Slate’s media critic Jack Shafer. Jack’s a great guy. He’s always writing something clever, so I like helping him out on projects. I really enjoy media criticism, because I find journalists are really compelling people. But I digress.

    Jack was writing a column yesterday addressing the recent trend of journalists running for office and former elected officials become media personalities. He asked me to find out more about a trend in the UK media, which is that local government “free sheets” are putting legitimate newspapers out of business. State-sponsored news is one the rise and commercial news is declining. “Proper papers” are losing their battle with propaganda organs.

    In order to help Jack out with this topic, I spent the afternoon digging up as much as I could find on a journalist named Heather Brooke. She’s the author of the new book Silent State: Secrets, Surveillance and the Myth of British Democracy. Brooke has spent a career advocating transparency in government. So, in order to help Jack, I read her op-eds, listened to some of her media appearances and visited her website. As it turns out, she’s a very interesting woman.

     
  • Graham Vyse 1:44 pm on March 18, 2010 Permalink | Reply  

    Back After Spring Break 

    Hey everybody! Sorry I haven’t blogged in a while. I spent spring break in Mexico with my SOC Cross Cultural Film and Video Production class — had a great time working with Mexican film students in Monterrey. I’m back at Slate this week. One of the things I’m doing (and I’ve been doing this every once and a while) is taking informal seminars on new media skills with 26-year-old Associate Editor Chris Wilson. Great guy. He’s teaching me HTML and JavaScript and other tools that any online journalist should know. In fact, as a result of Chris’ teachings, I probably could recreate this blog post complete with bolding or italics and paragraphing by using HTML instead of the WordPress tools. Cool, huh?

     
  • Graham Vyse 10:01 pm on February 23, 2010 Permalink | Reply  

    Covering CPAC, Bonding with Co-Workers 

    Since I last posted, I had the opportunity to cover the Conservative Political Action Conference for Slate. It was a great experience. I went last Thursday to the Marriott Wardman Hotel near the Van Ness-UDC Metro stop and spent the day interviewing people and listening to speeches.

    The article I wrote was about this guy Jason Mattera. He’s a young conservative firebrand and he gave a really red meat speech! It was kind of controversial, actually. The process of writing about it was another great chance to work with an editor. In this case, I emailed back and forth with Michael Newman, who does politics.

    Things at the office are great. I’ve done some research for columnist Jack Shafer for a really important piece on plagarism. I’ve really bonded with the other intern, Jenny, who is at Slate as part of her graduate capstone. So that’s really fun. Actually, I feel really bonded to all of the young people in the office. One guy, Chris Wilson, just published a fascinating and important piece on how the U.S. military used social networking tools to get Saddam. Chris is giving a talk about this on Friday at the New America Foundation. I’m looking forward to going to hear him!

     
    • Jessica Beasley 3:20 pm on February 24, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      Graham – this is so cool. You’re getting some really great experience here! It must be a great feeling to see your name in the byline of an article!

    • FB 1:33 pm on February 25, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      WOW! Are you covering Chris Wilson as part of your internship, or just taking advantage of a great opportunity? How was it to get your piece edited?

  • Graham Vyse 1:48 pm on February 11, 2010 Permalink | Reply  

    Asking Questions 

    The past week or so of my internship has been extremely challenging and incredibly rewarding. I finished a project I’d been working on since starting at Slate, which involved collecting photos for an annual feature on charitable giving called “The Slate 60.” Along with one other intern, I tracked down most of the photos displayed here. This may seem like a simple task, but it wasn’t easy. Many of the people profiled for this feature were really hard to contact. But the experience of tracking down their photos was a good exercise in organization and phone etiquette. I’ll admit it was very cool to be able to say, “Hi, I’m Graham Vyse and I’m with Slate Magazine.”

    The second project I worked on this week was an actual article of my own. It was a piece for Slate’s “Explainer” column, which answers questions about the news. In the wake of a news story related to patients in vegetative states, I set out to answer the question, “When did we start calling comatose patients “vegetative”? Is this term a literal reference to vegetables?

    (You can read the published piece here.)

    In the end, my piece was about 400 words long. But you cannot imagine how much time and effort went into it. This project took three days of conducting interviews, doing research and emailing back and forth with two very helpful, patient Slate staffers. The process was much more challenging than I expected, but when it was over, I felt a genuine sense of accomplishment. I look forward to taking on more challenging, rewarding tasks as the semester progresses.

    One of the valuable things I’ve learned at Slate so far is that asking a ton of questions is unavoidable. (Was it Plato or Socrates who said, “Wisest is he who knows he does not know”?) Sometimes I worry I’m coming across as a pest, but the fact is, there is so much I have yet to learn. That’s why I’m an intern. That’s what it’s about. I keep telling myself that I’m not expected to be a competent online journalist yet. I would encourage everyone to ask a lot of questions. My experience has been that people are more than willing to answer them.

     
    • FB 3:20 pm on February 15, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      Great final paragraph!

  • Graham Vyse 5:11 am on January 24, 2010 Permalink | Reply  

    Helping out the pros, learning how to pitch 

    Hey fellow interns and esteemed intern blog readers,

    I’ve only been at Slate Magazine for two weeks, but I’m already loving it.

    Since starting at the Slate, I’ve gotten to know its terrific staff, including writers and editors. They’re wonderful. These people are smart and funny, and they have great energy. I appreciate the warm welcome they gave me. Honest to God, I think the people who work in this office have some of the best jobs in the world. Think about this: they spend their days thinking and writing about politics and culture, sifting through the stories of each day to find. What could possibly be better? What? Interning in the Slate office has reminded me just how much I hope I can work in journalism after college. And I suppose that’s why many student do internships — to sample a potential career.

    As far as what I’ve actually done thus far, there are a few stories to tell:

    • I did research for an article Timothy Noah was writing. Tim was even generous enough to include my name in the byline, as you’ll see if you read the piece here. So, that was great. By the way, if you want to see Tim in action, check out his appearance this week on The Rachel Maddow Show:

    Video: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/26315908/vp/35025618#35025618

    • I learned how to pitch stories.
     
    • ChrisHughes 5:08 pm on January 28, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      Great use of the video link in the blog.

    • FB 7:27 pm on February 8, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      Wow! You do have a terrific internship and they do have great jobs! Can’t wait to hear more!

  • Graham Vyse 8:48 pm on January 19, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: ,   

    Graham’s Introduction 

    Hi, Everyone,

    I’m Graham Vyse, a junior majoring in political science. Since my freshman year, I’ve been blessed with opportunities to pursue my interests in politics and journalism. I’ve been a special assistant to former U.S. Senate Lincoln Chafee as well as a politics intern for washingtonpost.com. It’s been a ton of fun. This semester, I’m thrilled to be interning for Slate Magazine. Between now and May, I’ll spend twenty hours a week in Slate‘s D.C. office, helping put together the magazine’s coverage of politics and culture. I’ll do research, help writers and editors with special projects, and even do some writing and reporting of my own.

     
    • Jessica Beasley 9:37 pm on January 21, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      Sounds like you’re going to be getting some great experience! Can’t wait to hear more!

      • FB 7:08 pm on February 8, 2010 Permalink | Reply

        Graham, how did you get your internship?

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