An internship at the Globe and Mail will propel the career of any budding political reporter.
I spent three months interning at the Globe and Mail’s Parliamentary Bureau in Ottawa as an inaugural recipient of the Political Matters program. The opportunity gave me hands-on experience reporting on Parliament Hill, and the knowledge and skills I cultivated over the summer will translate into all future employment opportunities.
My internship began in early June, 2019, when I picked up my press pass from the Parliamentary Press Gallery and headed to the bureau, feeling excited and apprehensive. It would seem there was no time for nerves. At the first story meeting, Ottawa Bureau Chief Robert Fife assigned me a story covering an embargoed report on equalization payments. Yikes. It would seem I had a lot to learn. As Bob would say to me over the summer, “Throwing you in the water teaches you sink or swim.”
He wasn’t wrong. In the first week, I covered various topics including a Parliamentary Committee’s study on copyright, legislation on ending whale captivity, and visited the Court of Appeal for a look into court rulings on the Prime Minister’s vacation with the Aga Khan.
As the summer progressed, I attended Senate hearings, political speeches and press conferences, and quickly began to learn how to cover the policy issues that impact Canadians. Late into the summer, when the Hill (and seemingly everyone in Ottawa) braked for holiday, I had time to revisit old topics and flesh out ideas in feature reporting.
My time at the Globe was educational rather than overwhelming because I had constant support from my colleagues, who were quick to share tips and answer my multitude of questions. My assignment editor, Chris Hannay, worked with me on each piece, and taught me how to write a tight lede and master a Globe-style nutgraph.
I eventually became accustomed to the Globe’s rigorous editing process, and receiving late-night calls from the back-desk editors taught me to look deeper into the issues and ask questions I might have missed the first time.
I would encourage anyone who wants to be a political reporter to apply for this internship. You will learn to keep elected officials accountable and to report on the issues that matter to Canadians through clear and succinct writing.
Learning to cover the Hill takes time and patience, but there’s no better place to start than in a newsroom with talented journalists who are willing to share their knowledge and expertise.
Walking in to CP’s Ottawa bureau on my first day brought me back to some of the most nervous moments of my young career as a journalist – my first streeters, my first call with an MP, the first time I found a good story. CP’s journalists here are people I looked up to, and I had the chance to work alongside them. They are some of the best reporters in the country, masters of their craft, and suddenly I was one of them.
The nervousness only lasted for a little while because it quickly became clear they would treat me as though I actually was one of them — meaning, they were helpful, caring, supportive and just plain nice. Probably the best thing about this internship — besides the once-in-a-lifetime chance to pursue my passion of political journalism ahead of the election — was the opportunity to meet and talk to these incredible coworkers, who have embraced me more than I could have hoped.
Along with the team-oriented atmosphere of the bureau has come some real strides in the quality of my journalism. My writing is better, my interviewing is better, my comfort out in the field has skyrocketed. Best of all, I’m so much more confident finding stories and pitching ideas — the most important skill in any newsroom.
I have the chance to stay on with CP, at least for a while, covering the leadup to the election this fall. It’s an amazing opportunity that I would not have even dreamed of without the Political Matters Internship.