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Interns join Enterprise staff with community journalism goals – malheurenterprise.com


Three journalists have joined the Malheur Enterprise staff for the summer, continuing the news outlet’s successful internship program.

Summer interns Mac Larsen, Isaac Wasserman and Cynthia Liu, outside the Malheur Enterprise office June 16, 2022, are ready to cover community events and issues. (The Enterprise/ISAAC WASSERMAN)

VALE – Three journalists have joined the news team at the Malheur Enterprise for 10-week internships.

Mac Larsen recently earned his master’s degree in journalism from the University of Oregon and will report on housing, local government and range conditions.

Cynthia Liu, who will be a senior at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, will work as a multimedia journalist, providing photo and video coverage.

Isaac Wasserman, who will be a senior at the University of Oregon, will work as a multimedia journalist, providing photo and video coverage.

This is the fifth year that the Enterprise has conducted an intern program. The journalists, who are paid, will get advanced journalism training and experience in community reporting.

The program is funded by individual donors from around Oregon. Larsen and Wasserman are participants in the prestigious Snowden program at the UO’s School of Journalism and Communication, which helps fund their time in Vale. Liu’s internship is supported by a grant from the International Society of Weekly Newspaper Editors.

“These are outstanding young journalists who will bring tremendous skills to the Enterprise and to the community,” said Publisher Les Zaitz. “With their help, we broaden our coverage of the community and report on topics that a small newsroom otherwise could not get to.”

Here is their response to three questions posed as they arrived for duty:

MAC LARSEN:

Why are you spending the summer in Vale?

I’m part of the Charles Snowden Program through the University of Oregon, where I went to graduate school. I applied to be a Snowden intern because staying in my home state of Oregon was important to me. My parents first moved to Ashland, Oregon in the late ’80s and then moved to Portland before I was born. This is such a humongous, beautiful state that I didn’t want to limit my understanding of the Pacific Northwest to just Portland, Seattle, and Eugene, so living and reporting in a community like Malheur and telling stories in such a beautiful place seemed like too big of an opportunity to pass up.

What do you hope to accomplish in your time?

I’m hoping to write a whole lot this summer and cover as many different areas and topics as possible. I’m excited to delve into the possibilities that the Nyssa and Vale rodeos offer, both because of the competition and community that these events provide. I’ve worked on a lot of arts and culture stories in the past and hope to engage with the Treasure Valley arts community this summer. I’m also hoping to write some stories on subjects that I know nothing about and letting the community teach me about what they’re experts in.

Why is community journalism important?

Community journalism is important because, with respect and trust, a community news organization can become the voice of a community instead of a voice talking about a community.

Community journalism holds truth to power in a way that isn’t attacking the government but advocating for ways that politicians and community leaders can better represent their constituents.

I also think that a thriving community journalism enterprise becomes part of the community. They highlight neighbors who haven’t had their stories told.

CYNTHIA LIU:

Why are you spending the summer in Vale?

I’m excited by the opportunity to fully immerse myself in a new environment that’s unlike the communities I’ve spent most of my life in. I’m eager to practice multimedia journalism in a hands-on environment like no other, to learn by doing rather than watching, and to ultimately build trust and community with my peers and locals. I’m also looking forward to covering events and issues unique to Malheur County.

What do you hope to accomplish in your time?

In addition to growing as a journalist, my hope is that I’ll have made a tangible impact on the community in my time here. In broadening my own horizons, I also hope to create meaningful work (whether writing, photos, or video) that serves the Malheur County community and improves the lives of its inhabitants — if even a few people have been positively impacted by my work, or can see themselves represented in the stories I tell, I’ll have succeeded.

Why is community journalism important?

In a way unlike any other form of news, local journalism serves local communities. It reports from within rather than from without; it knows the community it reports on and for and uses journalism as a necessary tool for immediate, actionable storytelling. It also knows better than anyone the responsibility and privilege of being a journalist.

ISAAC WASSERMAN:

Why are you spending the summer in Vale?

 I am spending the summer in Vale to work at the Malheur Enterprise to learn about and collaborate on truthful, community driven journalism. I am excited to work and live in such a strong, close-knit community. 

What do you hope to accomplish in your time?

I hope to grow as a journalist and communicator, but I also want to leave the Enterprise with a portfolio of stories that serve as an honest reflection of Malheur County in the summer of 2022. I am excited to build relationships with community members over my time here.

Why is community journalism important?

 Community journalism is important because it is necessary that the community is educated about what is happening in their community. It is also important that community members feel reflected in their local news coverage. 

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