Francesca Fontana to be second Wall Street Journal Pensiero intern

Story and video by Amanda Linares

This year, more than 100 journalism students from across the country applied for The Wall Street Journal’s highly competitive internship, the F. James Pensiero Summer Reporting Internship.

A leading name in the journalism industry, The Dow Jones’ flagship newspaper, The WSJ, is one of the nation’s top media companies with a U.S. circulation of more than a million copies. The publication has also won nearly 39 Pulitzer Prizes during its 128-year history.

The F. James Pensiero Summer Reporting Internship, named after UO alumnus and former WSJ Deputy Managing Editor Jim Pensiero ’75, seeks one student each year who shows great promise and interest in reporting business and financial journalism.

This year, SOJC senior Francesca Fontana did just that. The WSJ selected Fontana from journalism students across the nation to travel to New York City for a 10-week internship at the newspaper’s headquarters. She follows in the footsteps of her former classmate, fellow SOJC alumna Dahlia Bazzaz, who was the inaugural Pensiero intern last summer.

“It’s very exciting,” said Fontana. “I think this is a really great opportunity that I am ridiculously thankful for.”

Pensiero, who worked at the publication for about 31 years before retiring in 2015, said what’s most important in intern candidates’ portfolios is a solid body of work that demonstrates initiative.

“It’s very simple advice,” said Pensiero. “Not only do you have to be a good student, but you have to bring the desire for that profession to another level.”

It’s a level Fontana hopes to achieve. After taking her first journalism class as a freshman at the UO, she knew she made the right choice. Since then, she has written for a variety of publications, including Flux Magazine, the Daily Emerald and OR Magazine. She has also interned at The Register-Guard and The Oregonian. Most recently, Fontana balanced her full-time class schedule with a staff position as a features reporter at The Register-Guard.

“Those were all incredible experiences, and I learned so many new skills,” said Fontana.

Fontana said her best advice to students looking to add to their portfolios and resume is to apply to positions before they think they’re ready. She also emphasizes the importance of building relationships with faculty members and getting involved with student-led media.

“I never imagined I would be interning at The WSJ,” said Fontana.

And she will never forget the day she found out that she was chosen to spend the summer working for the paper. “I could see my mom standing in the next room covering her face and listening [when I got the call,” Fontana said. “She cried and fist pumped.”

Amanda Linares is a multimedia intern for the SOJC’s Communications Office and a graduate student in the Journalism Master’s program. She earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Florida’s School of Journalism and Communications and has written for the unofficial school paper, The Independent Florida Alligator, as well as a variety of other publications, including Alachua County Today newspaper and Florida Hospital’ s Best In Care magazine. She’s also worked as a guest anchor and producer for WUFT-TV’s Afternoon News In 90 in Gainesville, Florida. In her graduate program, she has shifted her focus from print to multimedia production and photojournalism. Linares hopes to grow her journalism skills across multiple platforms and plans on graduating this spring.