Mina Hochberg (left) and Matt Schroeder are heading to college after their summer internships here at the Woodinville Weekly, Northlake News, and Valley View.
Photo by Jeff Switzer/Woodinville Weekly.
by Jeff Switzer
The Woodinville Weekly is sending its summer interns off to school with an enlarged perspective on community journalism and hours of interviewing, writing, and rewriting under their belts.
Mina Hochberg and Matt Schroeder, both from Woodinville, helped bring the community an uncounted number of features and heralded the return of Police Beat during their summer stint.
Mina began at the Weekly in February and graduated this year from Woodinville High School as one of its three valedictorians. Her experience before coming to the paper included writing for Mirror magazine and serving as co-editor of The Quill.
She came to the paper hoping to get writing experience, noting that when she started, she didn't know what "this kind of journalism" would be like.
"I thought a smalltown newspaper wouldn't be as hectic as something like a big daily, but it was more serious and hectic than I thought it would be," she said. "I didn't expect to start writing as soon as I did."
Mina said she learned how to get stories out faster, without spending "forever" editing a story. She also became skilled at gathering information.
"At first, I was timid about calling people up, but now, it's not hard. You know they're not going to bark back at you and most people don't mind talking. I've come to appreciate people who talk well, who are articulate, and don't just say 'yes' and 'no.'"
Mina will attend Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, on local scholarships from the Woodinville Rotary and the Northshore Communications (Malinowski) scholarship. She plans to study communications and possibly join a magazine or newspaper there.
"I know I just want to write," she said. "I like the constancy of journalism. I could write short stories and try to get them published, but that may not be as stable a career as journalism. I am definitely interested in the human interest side of journalism."
Matt Schroeder began interning in May and said he expected to write "maybe four, five, or six stories over the course of the summer."
But that didn't happen.
"I ended up working 20 hours a week. I was planning on painting my house or working in a video store all summer."
Matt is returning as a junior to Washington State University where he is also studying communications. He says his experience at the paper has taught him how to shift gears and juggle several stories at once.
Matt graduated from Woodinville High School in 1994, where he served on The Quill all three years as a columnist and unofficial editor.
"I'm a lot better at phone interviews. I tell people what I'm interested in and then ask if they can tell me something about it. Then they would just say everything they knew on the topic, which was usually a lot," Matt said.
Matt learned some tricks about starting from scratch and learning about a wide variety of subjects, then turning around and writing about them.
"I like to write, but the only way to be a writer is to write and make it as a job. I've been getting experience and have branched out my skills with photography and editing. This way, there's a better chance of getting a job in writing," he said.
"I honestly think small businesses are better than big businesses because you've got to look your co-workers in the eye every single day, and it makes it more personal."
Matt said he learned that he had to be versatile and that led to acquiring more knowledge overall. He also knows how to make napalm and how to remove fingerprints from the scene of a crime, "good marketable skills," he noted.
"There are no cogs in the business machine in a small business," he concluded.