My Experience as an Intern for UMA

By Michael Cao

Working as an intern at Urban Media Arts was a fantastic experience.

I joined UMA as an intern journalist in the fall of 2022. At first, I was nervous about doing it. I was worried that my writing would be so bad, or that my editor would not like me. But I have to do it since it was a requirement for me as a journalism student to find an intern position. I did not know exactly what I should do before the semester started, but after working for the company for the semester, I can confidently say I am now a much more mature journalist and I’m ready for the future. Through the weekly meeting and communications with my editors, I got more used to the environment and find that working at UMA is enjoyable.

I was assigned to the Neighborhood View team, which covered local news in Malden. Honestly, I have never learned about Malden as a community before although it was so close to the city of Boston. But my first assignment gave me a good chance to have more connections. I wrote a short news story about the Orange Line closure and I interviewed two random passengers. I would not say that was a difficult one to write because I have utilized the skills I learned from the journalism class. But one thing to remember was this was my first article that got published. I believe that my internship’s highlight came from the next two articles I wrote. I went to a local art event held by artist CD Collins. At first, I thought it would be a standard news story, covering what happened out there. However, that article took me several weeks from start to finish. I interviewed Collins at the event and interviewed her once again later. Through this article’s preparation, I learned that as a journalist you have to expect the unexpected. You are not likely to get an appointment very quickly. You are gonna change the details here and there. In Chinese, we say “five minutes on stage, ten years of preparation off stage.” That’s exactly what happened with writing a story. Though it’s time-consuming, once you put effort, like I did, and are fully dedicated to the article, you will have the article that satisfies many people.

The piece I wrote received Collins’s praise. She said it was the best journalism story she had ever seen. I believe that the email she sent me was one of the most inspiring things. It was a wonderful experience to connect with a fantastic artist and write a story. To me, that interview process was so friendly and warm. We talked a lot. I don’t like journalists and interviewees sitting together and just doing standard “Q and A” style interviews. Yes, you always want to be professional. But meanwhile, you can be friendly and patient. Building a good and healthy connection with your interviewee is an extra bonus.

I also did an interview-based story with Parto. That article also went well. I also interviewed her twice and the results turned out good. I feel like I’m getting more used to being a professional journalist. Though I still had a lot to learn, I can now confidently interview, write, and edit. During my internship, my editor Anne and Stephanie helped me a lot. They gave me a lot of guidance and helped to polish the articles. I worked at UMA for only several months, but it was an unforgettable experience. Now with the end of the internship as well as the end of my study career, I can say that I’m ready for the future, ready for more challenges.