The Berkshire Eagle, Pittsfield, MA
Over the summer I worked as a features intern for The Berkshire Eagle. I got to drive all around the Berkshires, meeting new and interesting people along the way, and writing stories about the arts, history, and local news.
The Eagle is an invaluable local news source for residents of the Berkshires. It is a well-respected paper, with high standards for journalistic integrity, and includes extensive statehouse and local news coverage, as well as reporting on the vibrant arts and intellectual scene in the area. Because it’s such a small paper, I got to form relationships with almost all of the editors and reporters; and subsequently, many of the ideas I pitched became articles. For example, I saw in a group chat that a Williams student, interning for the Stockbridge-Munsee Mohican Nation’s Tribal Historic Preservation Office, was inviting volunteers from the community to participate in an archaeological dig in nearby Stockbridge. I sent a screenshot to my supervisor, and she told me I could cover the story.
I was able to build a relationship with the Tribal Historic Preservation Office that resulted in two fairly long, in-depth features stories on the results of the archaeological dig, and the relationship between the Stockbridge-Munsee Mohicans and the descendants of their dispossessors—many of whom live in Stockbridge today. In fact, I may continue to freelance for the Eagle this fall, and produce a podcast about the Stockbridge-Munsee Mohicans that explores their relationship with Stockbridge, as well as their lives on the reservation in Wisconsin today.
I’ve found that the stories I most enjoyed writing were about history in some capacity. Another example is a feature I wrote on Darrell K. English, a local collector of World War II artifacts and self-made historian. I had the wonderful opportunity to witness the cataloguing of a portion of his collection by a Canadian nonprofit that specializes in the history of the Holocaust. It was fascinating to learn the reasons why all the people in that room were interested in history, and to reflect on my own interest in history.
Before interning for the Eagle, I had never worked in a professional newsroom. I was editor-in-chief of my high school newspaper, and am currently a podcast editor for the Record. Though it was a wonderful experience to explore and understand the Berkshires, this summer taught me that I want to dive into other interests, particularly history, rather than pursue a career in journalism. I realized that there’s something about building a relationship with someone for the purpose of extracting information from them that leaves a sour taste in my mouth, and that journalistic writing feels somewhat formulaic. Having the opportunity to write about people who were actually doing something related to history helped me understand that I want to do just that.
I am grateful to the ’68 Center for Career Exploration as well as Martha Williamson ’77 and Peter Martin Nelson ’76 for helping to make this experience possible.