Loving the Chaos of a Newsroom

  • January 3, 2023
Loving the Chaos of a Newsroom

By Daniella Rodriguez-Rebolledo

            During my time at The Messenger Papers, I have learned a great deal about print, writing and sticking up for yourself.

            The weekly paper covers three townships: Smithtown, Islip and Brookhaven. Each of these townships receives the same copy of The Messenger, with the exception of a few township specific stories.

            From the beginning of my internship, I had the responsibility of submitting between 3 to 5 articles each week. I didn’t have a specific beat; I just wrote what I was assigned to write about. Whether it was news, sports, politics or even entertainment, I did it all. I truly am grateful for this because it expanded my knowledge and introduced me to so many different areas of journalism where I still maintained objectivity and did what I had to do to produce the best work for the paper, and myself.

            I was in the Ronkonkoma office 3 times a week, completing at least 24 hours per week (I think it was nearly 40 at times).

            What feels like ages ago, Election Day surely brought a lot of chaos into the office. Between attending different events, interviewing local officials and politicians coming in and out of the office and building relationships at the local level, there was a lot of stress involved. Who do we endorse? Who’s story is the most important? Were some of the questions I asked myself leading up to November 8.

            Despite the chaos, I loved every minute of it.

            Putting the paper together before and after Election Day was tedious but exciting work. It’s safe to say that The Messenger Papers was pleased with the election results— myself included.

            In addition to writing for the paper, I also manage the socials. Each week, I post all the articles, write the captions and was heavily involved in taking a look at the analytics to see what does and doesn’t work. This is probably one of my favorite things to do because I get to do what I do best: marketing and branding.

            Most people in the SOCJ know me for how well I brand myself: I have a professional Instagram account with my reels, am building a Twitter and have more than 1,000 notable connections on LinkedIn. Only the best can stand out! This isn’t so much a cocky statement, but I truly am proud of how far I’ve come in such a short amount of time.

            As I neared the end of my internship, I truly thought about what worked for me, what didn’t and what I could have done better. 

            As a student journalist, I exercised every bit of knowledge I learned in JRN 116, JRN 216 and JRN 217. And I believe I did an excellent job and made my mark.

            But, at times, I took on too much of a load. Between working two jobs, and taking 18 credits this semester, this was a lot of work. I had to learn how to manage my time and prioritize. There were weeks when I felt absolutely burnt out and didn’t want to go to the office or even write. To prevent this, I think I should’ve taken more breaks. As someone who has lived with Generalized Anxiety Disorder for the past 4 years, I think I should have spoken up a bit more about my mental health and asked to write one less story than usual for just one week.

            I would certainly recommend a Stony Brook student to intern at The Messenger Papers. It is a fast-paced, educational and serious environment that calls for a student who truly is dedicated to their work and wants to learn the most they can. 

            Overall, my Fall Internship experience at The Messenger Papers has been no less than incredible. I have learned so much about print. Though this isn’t where I see myself in the future, I truly am grateful and appreciative of the support I have received in and out of the office. 

            I am taking these experiences with me onto my next internship: News 12 Long Island.