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This past winter, I secured a summer internship at Only A Date, a Chicago startup online dating company that launched in April. But to my delight, this summer I was lucky enough to be hired as an intern for the summer at Evanston Now, a local news website, as well. Before my summer began, I knew I would learn very much from these experiences.

The view from Jennifer Ball's cube? Chicago.

The view from Jennifer Ball’s cube? Chicago.

At the Only A Date internship, my main responsibility is blog management. Because of the popularity of the MTV show Catfish, the Only A Date blog features real-life catfish stories, as well as other stories related to online dating and relationships. This summer, I experienced a major achievement when I reached out to a blogger at Crain’s Chicago Business, who agreed to cover the company on his New in Chicago blog. After that, the founder asked me to take on a larger role in public relations, because he hired a public relations specialist, who actually came up empty. As a result of my public relations efforts, I was able to have the company and an interview with the two co-founders featured on a blog from the Chicago Sun Times. While I consider these great accomplishments, I am hoping to have a greater public relations accomplishment—perhaps having the blog featured on Windy City Live, a television show (fingers crossed.) I am still writing articles for the blog with the express purpose of generating traffic to the website itself, as well as working on potential restaurant partnerships with Only A Date.

Meanwhile this summer, I was working at Evanston Now, a website committed to serve readers with independent, locally produced news about Evanston. During this internship, I was able to go out to a parade, three art festivals, a youth triathlon, a pretrial hearing for first-degree murder, a recycling fair, two political meetings, a press conference, and a summer program showcase and report on them. This internship requires me to utilize the basics of newswriting as well as my multimedia skills. Like many real-life journalists today, I was taking my own photographs, capturing and editing my own videos, and writing my own stories. While working for Evanston Now, I learned valuable communication skills, and that it is okay to make mistakes sometimes—that is how you learn. The past two months I have been able to work on my writing skills, interview many interesting locals, and do visual work with photography and videos. In the future, I plan to write about a Hispanic heritage celebration, the kick-off to Hispanic heritage month, and a local pizzeria.

When I began my internship search, I was looking for a summer internship at a small publication where I could take on a lot of responsibility and perhaps do some visual work (like photojournalism.) This is what Evanston Now and Only A Date, my two summer internships provided for me. I was fortunate enough to have two internships in one, meaningful summer.

Jennifer Ball is a rising junior studying journalism at the Medill School. She spent her summer in Chicago and Evanston interning at online dating startup OnlyADate and hyperlocal online news website Evanston Now.

About Views from the Cube
Views from the Cube offers an inside look at what it means to be an intern from Northwestern students who are interning across the country and internationally for companies and organizations in all industries. Would you like to share your experience? Please contact careerservices@northwestern.edu.