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Learning the Ropes of Local News Reporting

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Maria Carrasco

This post was originally published on the SOC Dean's Internship Blog.

I love covering local news. And at NBC Washington, I get to do that everyday.

My past year has spent covering D.C. crime, activities and curiosities, first with my fall internship at DCist and now with my spring internship at NBC Washington. And throughout all this time, I have seen the color and passion of the District, which can easily be bogged down by federal Washington. Everyday at NBC Washington feels exciting, like I’m writing news that matters, engages and impacts communities.

In a typical day at NBC Washington, I start my day by reading all my morning newsletters – 730DC, Washington City Paper, the Washington Post and more – for story ideas. Then, I start pitching ideas, which could range from short write ups, video projects and longer visual pieces. And while pitching can often be the toughest part of being a journalist, NBC Washington is teaching me rejection and how to pitch better stories.

After my pitch is approved, my day gets going. From covering residency fraud, a Virginia rec-center being renamed, a tradition for a local group of runners and more, I am becoming a better local reporter. Day-to-day, I see NBC Washington serve a local community of viewers and readers.

And while I support full heartedly the journalists holding our federal government accountable, much is to be said about the reporters that cover the school board meetings, the deaths of local families and the struggling businesses of an increasingly gentrified city. As the Pew Research Center reports, 71 percent of U.S. adults think their local news media are doing well financially and 14 percent have directly paid a local news source. So, my biggest takeaway from this internship is to support your local news outlets and stations.