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Surprises — but no coffee runs — for Nashoba Valley Voice’s intern

Olivia Wirta, a senior at Groton-Dunstable Regional High School, interned at Nashoba Valley Voice/Lowell Sun for five months as part of a school program. She will attend Syracuse University in the fall.

By Olivia Wirta

Special to the Voice

When I first started my internship at Nashoba Valley Voice/Lowell Sun, I did not know exactly what the job would entail. I thought I would write a little bit, interview some people, edit the paper and maybe grab coffee for the employees.

I was pleasantly surprised when I discovered I would take on more projects and interviews than I thought I would. I have now interviewed more than 10 people and written stories about them and other topics in my short three months here already. Jennifer Paluzzi has taught me about writing in newspaper style, which was a lot different than I thought it would be. The formula they teach you in English class to write essays is not at all how reporters write. Newspaper style allows for a lot more creativity.

Another aspect I did not anticipate was the amount of calendar items people sent in. Not being an avid newspaper reader prior to this internship, I did not know there was even a calendar section in the newspaper. I did not realize how many events were happening in the surrounding communities so I was shocked when there were 30 plus calendar items to do in one day!

The newsroom was also a little different than what I had imagined. There is a police radio that is constantly going off to keep reporters updated on the latest news. I didn’t expect that much noise to occur but it was definitely interesting. I also learned about the level of access the public has to certain records and documents. I had no idea anyone can walk into their town hall and just ask for records and information.

Although I was away from the high school during my internship, I learned something about the school I had no idea about! I discovered there was a television station in the basement when Jennifer and I were interviewed for the local Groton Channel. I was shocked I never knew about it.

I think the most exciting opportunity during this internship was when I got to meet the governor, Charlie Baker. He came in for a meeting with the newsroom staff and I got the chance to meet him and hear him discuss politics. Without this internship, I would have never had that incredible experience.

Overall, my initial expectations were a little far off from the reality of the situation but in the best way possible. I have learned a lot about journalism and working in a newsroom from this experience which is what I was hoping to gain from this internship.

Olivia Wirta graduates with the Groton-Dunstable High School Class of 2018. She will be attending Syracuse University in the fall.