I am incredibly grateful to have spent the summer as a reporting intern at the Burlington Free Press. For those who do not know, BFP is Vermont’s largest, daily newspaper. It is part of the USA Today Network and the Gannett family of papers.
Though I was technically an intern, I was treated like a staff reporter from Day 1. I was pushed to try new things, encouraged to pitch and pursue my own stories, and dabbled in everything from breaking news to a nacho review video series.
Below you will find a sampling of what I consider to be my best work. The more than 60 stories I wrote during my time in Burlington can be found here.
Mojo the Porn Dog
By far and away my favorite story I wrote was one about Mojo, a member of the Vermont Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force. He uses his nose to detect an industry secret acid found in small electronic devices that are usually hidden and contain child pornography.
Nacho Video Review Series
One day, we in the news room were on Reddit and noticed that the number one trending topic on r/Burlington was “best nachos in Burlington.” So, I went out and shot a five-part video series reviewing the top Yelp-rated nacho places in Burlington with my colleagues. As I say in the article, that is just the kind of selfless, dogged journalist I am.
The Mister Rogers Beat
When I started at the Free Press, I did not expect to be put on the Fred Rogers beat. But, my job was, in part, to cover trending topics. One of the hottest subjects this summer was the release of the documentary about Rogers and his show, Won’t You Be My Neighbor?, which quickly became one of the highest-grossing documentaries of all-time. So, I pitched a profile of François Clemmons, who played Office Clemmons on Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood and actually lives in Middlebury. We had a wonderful conversation about his life, career, and the enduring Rogers legacy.
Then, I pitched another story about the success of the documentary. I found that in Burlington, the documentary had actually outsold the latest Marvel movie at a local theater. I interviewed a variety of people, including the CEO of Vermont PBS, to answer the question: why do people cry when they see Mister Rogers?
In the course of reporting the story on Won’t You Be My Neighbor?, I learned that Vermont PBS had started their own Mister Rogers-type show, Mister Chris & Friends. I interview Chris and also explore whether it makes sense for Vermont PBS to be producing their own local content.
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