Tristan Whalen ’23

The Berkshire Eagle, Pittsfield, MA

For my internship this summer, I wrote for the Berkshire Eagle, a Pittsfield-based newspaper that has been a staple of Berkshire County for over 125 years. With an incredibly comprehensive array of content—from thoughtful reporting on nearly every inch of local news and politics, to engaging coverage of community activities and upcoming events throughout the county—the Eagle is not your standard “local” newspaper.

Tristan Whalen working.As someone who was born and raised in Western Massachusetts, I have always had a distinct respect (or, at the very least, a special fondness) for the Berkshire Eagle. To be able to write for a newspaper that I have been reading since I was a kid has been an exciting and rewarding experience.

My main role at the Eagle was to pitch, research and write newspaper pieces about architecture, design and the built world of Berkshire County. This reporting experience brought me into close contact with some extraordinary buildings, interesting people and compelling narratives, while also renewing my appreciation for a part of Massachusetts that I have always known and loved.

In addition to several forthcoming pieces that have yet to be published, my writing for the Eagle included a column about the restoration of a Joseph McArthur Vance-designed firehouse in Pittsfield’s Morningside neighborhood and a feature piece on Group AU, a local architecture firm co-owned by Chris Parkinson and Tessa Kelly—both natives of Berkshire County—that is slowly transforming the built environment of Pittsfield through methods that prioritize community engagement and sustainable design.

Tristan Whalen at work.I also had the opportunity to write a feature for the summer edition of Berkshire Landscapes, the Berkshire Eagle’s quarterly magazine. In this piece, I analyzed the historical and architectural significance of the McKay Mausoleum, a little-known monument in the Pittsfield cemetery that is one of the most interesting and best preserved examples of neo-Byzantine architecture in all of Massachusetts.

For me, these experiences at the Berkshire Eagle were the perfect combination of two areas of study that I have found myself more and more drawn to over the course of my time at Williams: expository/journalistic writing and architectural studies. Although I have pursued internships in both of these spheres individually I have not, until now, had the chance to join these interests together in a meaningful way.

Working closely with colleagues at the Eagle, I have learned so much about journalism, while producing written work that is exciting and specific to my interests in architecture and design. As I enter my last year at Williams, I am elated to have been offered the opportunity to write part-time for the Berkshire Eagle and to continue my pursuit of architectural writing and criticism in the context of a place that I know and love.

I’m grateful to those who made this summer internship possible. I’m certain that this experience will inform the next chapter of my life—whatever that might be, and wherever it may take me.