As I’ve mentioned in some of my past blogs, I got to spend Fall Quarter in Miami, Florida (I know, I should have gone during Winter Quarter) doing my Journalism Residency. JR is a mandatory internship all Medill School of Journalism students have to complete before graduation; students can either use a summer internship they acquired independently as their JR, or they can apply to a pre-approved list of sites Medill has provided. The list of JR sites is varied and constantly changing to reflect students’ interests. I have friends who have done their JR anchoring the evening news in small Midwestern towns, designing cover pages and layout designs for Cosmopolitan Magazine, working at Facebook and writing for the Washington Post. I’m interested in sports writing, so decided to go to the Miami Herald for my residency because the paper has a great sports desk and is located in a big city. I couldn’t have made a better choice.

The Miami Herald was a great place to get truly invaluable experience in sports writing. Medill takes a lot of care to make sure students get actual journalism experience while on JR and aren’t getting coffee for their bosses, and my internship was definitely hands on. I wrote about all four of the major professional sports (I spent the most time covering the Miami Heat) along with college and high school football as well as NASCAR. I worked as if I were a regular beat writer and spent my days in locker rooms with Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade and on practice fields with the Miami Dolphins, usually producing from three-to-five articles for the sports section every week. I even had a story run on the front page of the Herald!

Apart from working around professional athletes everyday — easily one of the coolest parts of the job — I worked with editors who were genuinely invested in my development as a writer and got to know a ton of reporters who guided me through the ins-and-outs of the industry. The opportunity to connect with active reporters in the field was huge since I’m graduating soon and I want to work in sports journalism. In Miami, I feel like I got the best of both worlds. The Northwestern support network was never far away, but I also got to live independently (like a real adult!), explore a new city, and develop a new network of knowledgeable professionals. I loved my JR!

–Ava Wallace

Photo: The view from the press box at Soldier Field, before the Bears vs. Dolphins game in Chicago. The Herald sent me along with their two regular writers to cover the game!

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