The El Paso Times (Austin Bureau)
Spring 2009 Site Review
I met my current boss while covering a UT System board of regents meeting in the summer of 2008. I was reporting for the Daily Texan and she was a former managing editor. I remembered her mention of a legislative internship at the close of the fall semester, applied and got the job.
It turns out The Daily Texan prepared me well for this job. The most important skill I possessed was being able to report and write on a deadline. This became even more important because of the arrangement of my work schedule. I worked 20 hours per week throughout the spring semester, Tuesday through Friday. Typically that would leave me four hours to call sources at the Capitol, and five hours to complete a daily story. Of course, writing a story never takes long; it’s gathering sources that sucks up your time.
The kind of assignments an intern receives depends largely on the timeframe of the legislative session. After spending months before the start of the actual session conducting hearings and pre-filing legislation, the legislators’ activities are surprisingly slow. For the first two months of the internship, I wrote stories about press conferences and rallies at the capitol, committee hearings, and bills filed by members of the El Paso delegation.
I only began to sit in on the proceedings of the House and Senate chambers in April. For most of the session, the two chambers would adjourn before I even arrived at work. With the chance to cover the workings of the chambers themselves, I have begun to report more on bills as they move through the legislature and are voted on by both houses.