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Unexpected Interest: Exploring Political Journalism

American University School of Communication student Breanna Edwards, left, works at the Sunlight Foundation as an SOC Dean's Intern.

American University School of Communication student Breanna Edwards, left, worked at the Sunlight Foundation as an SOC Dean's Intern.

Breanna Edwards, SOC/BA ’12, never thought she would be a political journalist. But after securing SOC’s Dean’s Internship at the Sunlight Foundation, Edwards was on her way to land a fellowship as part of Politico’s politics team.

“This wasn’t what I thought I would be doing three or four years ago,” recalls Edwards. “I thought I would be a journalist but not a political journalist. Honestly, I didn’t like politics at first.”

However, that view changed after she took Chris Adam's Advanced Reporting class which explored the math and money side of politics.

“I began to find it more interesting and over time I fell in love with that side of politics,” she says.

From there, Edwards pursued her new interest through the Sunlight Internship, which Edwards said helped her envision whether or not political journalism was something she could see herself doing for the rest of her life.

Apparently, it was a match.

Now, Edwards has taken that passion for keeping politics transparent that she found and developed at Sunlight to her new position at Politico. She follows many political polls, and during the recent election she followed the activities of each state and pitched story ideas.

“I have learned how to connect to people to construct stories,” Edwards says. “I have also learned the importance of asking a bunch of never-ending questions.”

Edwards says that American University and SOC in particular provided her with the resources that made these opportunities possible. She found out about the fellowship from a professor who posted the information about the position to Facebook.

“AU has always been a good source of information and tips,” she says.

As for her advice to current and future SOC students, Edwards’ message is simple:

“Be curious and don’t be afraid to try new things. And always keep writing.”