This summer during my internship I covered an eclectic mix of topics, and while you may not be an expert in the field you are writing about you often become one in the process.
For my first assignment, I was instructed to cover a local election in the town of Standish, Maine. Now for someone that had arrived in Maine a few days prior, I did not have a clue what issues were on the ballot or even where the town hall was, but after reading up on the items and doing a drive by to find the place the day before, I became well versed on things like new bridges, sidewalks and public beaches. As voters left the building I was there with tape recorder in hand ready to ask people about these hot topics.
By the end of the summer I felt like an expert on such an array of issues for towns that I did not even reside in, but that was the whole point. When someone picked up a copy of The Lakes Region Weekly on a Friday morning, I did not want his or her first reaction to be, “oh this girl isn’t from around here.” I wanted them to simply read my articles and become a more informed citizen.
So the bottom line is do prep work. As long as you understand the value of doing research before you start calling up sources, you will be able to write about anything. This is important to keep in mind, because a sure way to embarrass both yourself and the publication you work for is to go into an assignment uneducated.
Follow Meagan on Twitter @meagannichols1