Getting into politics with a pro for a guide

  • May 1, 2020

By Kimberly Brown

Before interning for Michael D’Antonio, I had recently become interested in politics. I had always stayed away from politics, but since the impeachment hearings began I became infatuated. 

When Professor Selvin emailed us about Michael’s internship, I knew I had to give it a shot. I thought it could be very interesting to learn from him as he is a well-known journalist and CNN commentator. My intuitions were right, and I thoroughly enjoyed working for him. At first, I was nervous because I wasn’t an expert in politics, but I did understand that every day there would be something new. Fortunately, he had no problem with this and was more than ready to teach us about the politicians involved and about impeachment hearings. 

This internship included a great amount of researching, documenting and exploring politicians. 

Each person in our group was assigned a politician to research and analyze based on what party the politicians were affiliated with and what actions they had taken since the impeachment started. Michael gave us material to work with such as timelines tracing politicians’ moves from the beginning of impeachment to the current day. He also provided us with interviews he had conducted with those same people. 

I was assigned to Jamie Raskin. I did not know anything about him before the internship, but I know him very well now. It was very fun for me to explore who Jamie Raskin was, not only as a politician but as a person, too. I learned many elements of this man’s life over a series of interviews taken throughout a number of years. Sometimes a politician’s stance on something may develop or deteriorate over time, without him even realizing it. Part of our job to pinpoint inconsistencies.

Michael is an extremely knowledgeable person and an amazing interviewer. I learned a lot just by listening to his interviews. He knows how to word questions in such a way that an interviewee feels comfortable talking to him. During our meetings, Michael always explained his tactics and the motives behind his interviews and taught us how to properly address big- and small-name politicians. If I ever had a question or was confused about anything, he was more than ready to give me an answer. 

You can learn a lot from Michael just by listening to him talk. He always has interesting and funny stories about the politicians he meets. It was so intriguing to hear his involvement, as he always had some crazy experience while meeting people on the job. His experiences taught me ways to handle different situations when surrounded by politicians. Sometimes you have to keep your cool. and other times it’s okay to crack a joke. It depends on who you’re around, which is why it is so important to be knowledgeable about each politician. 

Without that knowledge, it is harder to get them to trust you, and without that trust, there are few to no interactions. Trust is the base for anything and everything you do in politics. 

This internship gave me a better understanding and a deeper look into the world of politics. Anyone who is even slightly interested in politics should consider applying for this internship. Michael is the nicest, smartest and most determined person you will meet. His work ethic and gung-ho attitude are truly motivating. There is so much you can learn from him just by listening, and he is always enthusiastic to discuss any hesitations you may develop during the internship. It was a pleasure getting to know Michael, and I am so happy I was accepted for this internship. Without it, I don’t think I would have even considered pursuing politics in my future journalism career.