Friday, February 21, 2020

Isabella Rosario has a passion for telling stories regarding race and culture, whether it be through audio or writing. After graduating from the University of Iowa with a degree in Journalism & Mass Communications and Ethics & Public Policy in December 2019, she got the opportunity to do so through her internship at NPR's Code Switch.

"Code Switch is a podcast about race and identity," said Rosario. "They also have a blog where they do different written stories that will either accompany a podcast episode or there'll be Q&As or historical lookbacks or other types of reporting."

At her internship, located in Washington, D.C., Rosario is currently working on a few written stories, fact checks podcast scripts and newsletters, and sets up the soundboard in the podcast studio. She recently released her first piece, a write-up promoting Code Switch's playlist of Black History Month playlists. 

Rosario said that NPR equips interns for success through training sessions, as many incoming interns don't have journalism backgrounds. In addition, Rosario learned a lot through experiences at SJMC and the Daily Iowan.

"Working at the Daily Iowan and Little Village gave me the experience of being in a newsroom, which being in a class can't really parallel," said Rosario. "It was very valuable to work under a deadline and be edited by my peers and to collaborate with my peers."

Rosario believes that staying engaged in classes and interacting with professors can go a long way, especially in terms of figuring out a career path. She encourages students to find professors that they can click with and talk to about not only current work, but also general journalism.

While it may seem like an internship at NPR or another national outlet is out of reach, Rosario believes the opposite, saying that students shouldn't feel like they're not qualified for certain jobs. 

"I was at a networking event shortly before graduation and someone from another bigger publication was saying that since my last two internships were at local places, maybe I should work my way up to somewhere like NPR and shoot for regional or state places and not try to go national," said Rosario. "I don't think that's good advice. It's just about the work you put in. Everyone has a unique perspective, so don't doubt yourself."

As for after NPR, Rosario wants to continue to tell stories and hasn't ruled out a return to Iowa.

"I'd really like to be doing some kind of journalism whether it's in audio or writing that's more long-form and has more of an opinionated perspective," said Rosario. "I want to keep trying to report on diverse communities and wherever I end up, I think that can be done either locally or nationally, both are equally valuable."

Story by Jack Martin, SJMC student