Risky business

Maria Esquinca, Managing Editor

When I was told I’d be a Dow Jones News Fund business reporting intern, and that I would be working at Crain’s Detroit Business over the summer, I was ecstatic.

After the excitement settled my friends muttered their thoughts. “Detroit? Doesn’t that city have the highest crime rate?”

Uncertainty settled in. I didn’t know what to expect, and I’d never been so far from home, but I was sure it was for the best.

First I headed to New York City, where the DJNF interns trained for a week. We were assigned a huge textbook to read, were quizzed on chapter readings and on the Wall Street Journal. It was one of the most intense journalistic training experiences I have ever had.

Our mornings were filled with coffee, bagels, sleep deprivation, test anxiety, adrenaline, and some of the most eloquent news conversations that left me feeling kind of dumb. It was intense.

I also got to meet some of the most intelligent, qualified and competitive group of student journalists. These were big players, who didn’t show a speck of uncertainty. I felt intimidated and slightly out of place, but also motivated to become better.

I will carry some of the lessons I learned from that grueling week, regarding writing, accuracy and discipline, into whichever career I follow.

After New York, we all left to our respective internships. Some went to D.C., others to NYC–I went to Detroit.

“Te fuiste de una frontera a otra,”(you went from one border to another) my uncle said.

In Detroit, I found a new home. I fell in love with its resilience, strength and pride. It wasn’t long before I found that the stereotypes and assumptions regarding the city were false.

While at my internship, I honed my journalism skills.

In Post-its plastered around my computer, I collected little lessons I learned throughout the summer.

Things like, triple check all facts, the lede has to add something new to the story and draw the reader in, and accuracy is your No. 1 responsibility.

I explored the full extent of my multimedia degree, as I was expected to take pictures, tweet and write while covering an event, all as soon as possible.

I sat in awe of the senior reporters–the relationship they established with their sources, their ability to break stories and their seemingly endless knowledge. 

I also learned that business reporting, and the lives of millionaires, acquisitions, mergers and profits, was not something I wanted to pursue as a writer.

Instead, I was moved by the social injustices going on in Detroit. And I wanted to tell a different kind of story.

All of these things helped me to learn and grow. It is because of this that I would encourage everyone to apply for an internship, take a risk and leave El Paso. You might just learn a few things.

Maria Esquinca may be reached at [email protected]