By Katharina Buczek
I transferred to Stony Brook University during the COVID-19 pandemic and, due to the social disconnect, I felt a bit lost in my career plans. I was unsure what journalistic path really spoke to me, and that anxiety was almost paralyzing at times.
Even after searching and applying for internships, I still felt a bit unsure. Then, one opportunity really stuck out to me: a writing position at Chip Chick Media. Chip Chick Media is a new and growing digital publication that caters to a female audience. The outlet covers topics from entertainment and human interest to science and technology.
I was ecstatic to be given the opportunity to write for Chip Chick Media and step outside of my comfort zone. In my academic studies, I had become very confident writing stories that would fall under the umbrella of “hard news.” At Chip Chick, I got to experiment with finding my own voice and tone for these more Buzzfeed-like pieces.
Each week, I was assigned all different kinds of stories. I got to shed light on important issues such as the affordable housing crisis, the gender pay gap, and the mental health epidemic among high school students. I also got to discuss breakthroughs in science, including a new 3D bioprinting process, a new treatment option for epilepsy, and the Blue Brain Project.
Finally, I was able to practice writing about entertainment and pop culture in a conversational way. In trying to make these stories as relatable as possible, I also made it my goal to add as much context as I could in order to tie these stories into larger themes.
For example, I was assigned one story about a TikToker who went viral after humorously sharing how she plans to only eat Taco Bell due to the high price of groceries. Instead of simply covering the social media user and how well her video was received online, I tied her sentiments into national trends, including the skyrocketing cost of living and the growing prevalence of food deserts throughout the country.
As a journalist, it is my goal to tell people’s stories to the best of my ability. I am proud to have grounded many of my human interest stories in more context in order to shed light on important issues and better inform Chip Chick Media’s reader base in a relatable way.
My editor, Bre Zacharski, was very helpful and encouraging as I found my way. Being new to any position can be intimidating and stressful, but Bre always encouraged me to ask questions and for help whenever needed. Working with her felt more like a mentorship, which I very much appreciated.
With her guidance, I learned to craft a more conversational and engaging voice. Moreover, I was given the freedom to experiment with different story approaches and structures. I can now definitively say I feel much more confident writing stories in this realm.
Through my experience, I have also forged a better understanding of where I would like to go in my journalism career. I learned that I not only love writing but am also very intrigued by the editing process and leading others. I would like to pursue more leadership and editorial opportunities moving forward.
If you are looking to try something new, like experimenting with different story types and writing styles, I would encourage you to seek out Chip Chick Media. While juggling the internship responsibilities on top of academics can be difficult at times, it was very rewarding. I got to apply and expand upon my knowledge from the School of Communication and Journalism, which is everything I had hoped for in my internship.