School of Journalism and New Media

The University of Mississippi

Q & A with UM journalism students interning for 60 Minutes, Fortune magazine

Posted on: November 11th, 2019 by ldrucker

Two University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media students are in New York this semester, taking classes and interning through the Semester in Journalism program operated by a journalism institute at The King’s College in NYC.

60 Minutes intern Matthew Hendley is a junior broadcast journalism major from Madison, Mississippi. He has worked as a NewsWatch Ole Miss anchor, play-by-play announcer for Rebel Radio and local government reporter at the Beat Reporter. In his freshman year, Matthew won first place in the Southeast Journalism Conference TV newscast anchoring competition.

Fortune magazine intern Hadley Hitson is a junior journalism and Spanish double-major from Mountain Brook, Alabama. She has worked as a Daily Mississippian writer and assistant news editor, an intern in the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Public Affairs, and with the White House Internship Program in the Communications and Press Office.

The New York City Semester program partners with 37 universities.

Matthew Hendley at 60 Minutes.

Matthew Hendley at 60 Minutes.

Matthew Hendley

Tell us about your internship. What’s a typical day like?

I get in around 10 and take care of my intern duties – distributing papers to correspondents and producers, stocking the kitchen and refilling printers. Then I usually have an assignment once I get settled at my desk. It’s all about forming relationships with the producers. They give you simple tasks, and if you do it well, then they’ll give you more work. Eventually, they trust you with actual reporting – calling courtrooms, getting information, conducting research and aggregation – and you become an essential part of the story production. In my downtime, I work on story pitches and answer phone calls from viewers.

How are you using the skills you learned in your journalism classes and at the Student Media Center? 

Aside from learning to be a student of current events and fluent in news lingo, I use several other reporting tactics and journalistic techniques I learned from the SMC and in the classroom at Ole Miss: Whether it’s calling sources and knowing how to ask for what you want, thinking through and constructing complete story ideas, or simply interpreting news stories and research related to a story being investigated by 60 Minutes – these are all things I learned from working at NewsWatch and deciding to view daily life through a journalistic lens.

What’s the single most exciting or memorable thing that has happened to you so far during your internship?

Probably meeting and chatting with Anderson Cooper. Or getting coffee for Adam Sandler.

Matthew Hendley at 60 Minutes.

What’s been your favorite assignment so far? 

We spent weeks pulling pictures and posts from alleged Russian operative Maria Butina’s Facebook pages. The producers ended up using several of the photos we pulled in the story that went to air. It’s great getting to see how our small, yet tedious work contributed greatly to such a big story.

What do you miss most about Ole Miss while you are away? 

Aside from football season, the community and atmosphere in Oxford, I miss reporting. For student journalists, we’re blessed with the curse of attending a school where there always seems to be something newsworthy happening. I miss being a part of those stories.

What advice would you give other students interested in the Semester in Journalism program? 

If you want to give New York a test run, do this program. You’ll learn from talented former journalists who’ll guide you if you need it. It might seem scary, but it’s really not all that crazy. Ole Miss students have really stood out in this program. Our journalism school puts us above the fold. I’d suggest applying for the internship you want in NYC rather than waiting to be placed in one by NYCJ. That’s how I landed 60 Minutes.

Anything else you’d like to tell us? 

A few days ago, I hopped on a 9-hour bus ride to Buffalo to chase a story for my religion reporting class. And that’s why I love it up here. There’s a gold mine of stories, and they’re all within reach. When it comes to a good story, sometimes you just gotta do it.

Hadley Hitson

Hadley Hitson

Hadley Hitson 

Tell us about your internship. What’s a typical day like?

No two days interning at Fortune Magazine have been the same. Whether I’m sitting in on editorial brainstorms, pitching my own articles to editors, doing research for Fortune‘s famous lists or working on the backend of the website to help publish content, I am getting the opportunity to do real work for a magazine with a readership of nearly 5 million people. So far, I have been published with an individual byline four times online and twice in print.

How are you using the skills you learned in your journalism classes and at the Student Media Center?

Nothing could have better prepared me for this internship than working for The Daily Mississippian. Thinking of creative story angles, writing articles on quick-turnaround deadlines and being able to work well with editors are just a few of the many skills the DM taught me that I use on a daily basis at Fortune.

What’s the single most exciting or memorable thing that has happened to you so far during your internship?

I don’t think anything can compare to the elation I felt seeing my byline printed in Fortune for the first time. The first week I started, I was able to help research and write for Fortune‘s Most Powerful Women International list, which appeared in the October issue of the magazine. Going to the newsstand to buy that issue and being able to retweet the article from Fortune‘s verified Twitter, those were my two favorite moments.

What’s been your favorite assignment so far? 

I was initially nervous about the fact that Fortune is a business magazine, but I have discovered so many business-related topics that I want to learn more about. For the November issue, I pitched an article about the current state of election security one year out from the 2020 vote, and somehow, my editor liked the idea. Writing that article and really digging into what officials and experts still think needs to change before next November was definitely my favorite assignment thus far.

What do you miss most about Ole Miss while you are away? 

Hands down, the two parts of Ole Miss that I miss the most are The Daily Mississippian and the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College. I love that I’m getting to cover national topics like election security, but I really do miss reporting on Oxford, especially with all of the news that has happened since I’ve been gone.

What advice would you give other students interested in the Semester in Journalism program? 

Apply! Even if you don’t think New York is the city for you, even if you’re worried about missing Oxford and your friends there, you should challenge yourself to learn by experience. The King’s College is almost the exact opposite of the University of Mississippi. It has less than a thousand students. It is located in the most populous city in the United States, and it is a Christian liberal arts school. NYCJ is the chance to experience and grow in this contrasting environment for one semester with the safety net of knowing you can return home to Ole Miss the next.

 

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