Julie Snowden

Mrs. Charles Snowden talks with the 2015 Snowden Interns about the importance of the program her husband founded and community journalism.

Sixteen college students from around the state of Oregon were honored on Friday night, September 25, at the George S. Turnbull Portland Center for participation in the 10-week Charles Snowden Program for Excellence in Journalism. Twelve of this year’s interns are students from the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication (SOJC).

Since 1998, the paid internship program has created unique opportunities for Oregon students, integrating on-the-job experience with training in journalism ethics. The interns work side-by-side with professionals, practicing the essential skills required to provide news and information to their communities, during the summer months.

This year interns worked with prestigious media partners including: East Oregonian in Pendleton; The Register-Guard in Eugene; The Daily Astorian and Oregon Public Broadcasting in Portland, to name a few.

“What the Snowden internship does is give students a chance to see that what they do matters,” says SOJC student Kaylee Tornay in her final essay. “By putting us in unfamiliar and often small communities, we have to learn to lay ourselves aside. When we leave, and we look back, we get to see a sum total of our impact. In just 10 weeks, we get to make friends in our newsrooms, form contacts in the community, and experience the privilege of caring about the people we’re writing for and about. We get to be contributors in a new place, take away irreplaceable memories and relationships, and have a ton of fun doing it, and that is an incredible gift to offer students.”

Interns were chosen by a committee, under the direction of Snowden Internship Coordinators Pete Peterson, who retired in June, and Kathryn Thier, which reviewed 64 applications for this year’s 16 internship. Thier closely followed the progress of each intern and worked closely with the editors to provide a supportive learning environment.

The Snowden Program honors the life and career of Charles Snowden, a long-time editor at The Oregon Journal and The Oregonian. Snowden, who retired in 1986 and passed away in 1997, had a great passion for good writing, history, and the practice of ethical journalism.

Five students made up the first class of Snowden interns in 1998. Since then, 219 Oregon journalism students have launched their journalism careers as “Snowdens.” Each intern receives a stipend, funded by the Snowden program endowment at the University of Oregon and the sponsoring media partners.

Snowden interns have landed careers at top media outlets throughout the country (and world) including: The Associated Press, The Oregonian, The Los Angeles Times, Nike, The Seattle Times, Bloomberg News and The Prague Post (Czech Republic). Julia Reihs, one of the 2015 SOJC interns, landed an internship with National Public Radio in Washington DC. The average of “Snowdens” finding full-time employment in media after graduation is 80 percent, an extremely high number in this profession.

Congratulations to the Snowden Class of 2015:

Jonathan Bach, University of Oregon, reporter, East Oregonian, Pendleton
Sean Bassinger, Oregon State University, reporter, Herald and News, Klamath Falls
Christina Belasco, University of Oregon, multimedia journalist, OPB, Portland
Francesca Fontana, University of Oregon, reporter, The Register-Guard, Eugene
Gordon Friedman, University of Oregon, reporter, Statesman Journal, Salem
Scott Greenstone, University of Oregon, reporter, News-Review, Roseburg
Emily Hoard, Willamette University, reporter, News-Register, McMinnville
La’akea Kaufman, University of Oregon, reporter, Baker City Herald, Baker City
Travis Loose, University of Oregon, reporter News-Times, Forest Grove
Julia Reihs, University of Oregon, multimedia reporter, The Register-Guard
Will Rubin, University of Oregon, feature writer, The Bulletin, Bend
Mary Jane Schulte, University of Oregon, news photo, The Register-Guard
McKinley Smith, University of Oregon, reporter, The Daily Astorian, Astoria
Zane Sparling, Willamette University, reporter Capital Press, Salem
Kaylee Tornay, University of Oregon, reporter, Mail Tribune, Medford
Alexandra Wallachy, University of Oregon, reporter, The Outlook, Gresham

For more information on how to apply for the Snowden Program or to become a media partner, please contact Kathryn Thier.