News Flash! A Multi-Media Internship

A bit about me

As a senior Environmental Studies major with a concentration in Environmental Behavior and Decision Making at UNC Chapel Hill, I committed to the Outer Banks Field Site with a hope for experiences where I could explore and intertwine my passions for environment and ecology, the arts, storytelling, and communicating truth. With my internship with the Outer Banks Voice and Jam Media Solutions, I have been able to do all this and learn so much more — about myself, journalism, and navigating the nuances of a dynamic community.

My mentor, the one and only Sam Walker

With the help of Corey Adams, the Research Operations Manager at the Coastal Studies Institute, I gained my mentor, Sam Walker, who has guided and supported my work and growth as an aspiring [student] environmental journalist these past few months. As news director of the Outer Banks Voice (online local news publication) and Jam Media Solutions (radio broadcasting organization), Sam has made these opportunities to explore journalism via different platforms possible for me, and I am so excited to continue making the most of it. He has shown me that a passion for media and journalism can manifest in multiple forms for someone, as is evident by his dedication to traveling for sports refereeing on top of his work as news director.

Behind the scenes of my internship

  • Outer Banks Voice 

For the Outer Banks Voice, I have been working on my first long-form feature article, which will explore what the Coastal Studies Institute can offer, from the students’ perspectives. Throughout the semester, I have interviewed current and former OBXFS students, the CSI director, Dr. Reide Corbett, and graduate students from East Carolina University. I have had so much fun hearing everyone’s narratives and learning how to compose a comprehensive piece that truly captures our diverse voices. This week will be the home stretch for editing and publishing the final story, so keep an eye out at the Outer Banks Voice website!

The station has physically hosted my internship these past few months, and I have had a wide variety of experiences on that end, from shadowing Sam to various interviews and story/reporting opportunities, to attending Dare County Commissioners Meetings, to troubleshooting technical roadblocks. We have spent a fair amount of time doing technical work on stories at the station as well. After publishing my article, I will be spending the rest of the internship time doing broadcasting work, which I have already witnessed and learned about, so I am beyond excited to actively train for it. Keep an ear out on the local radio for my (personally) much-anticipated amateur debut!

Full Moon Frenzy

This past week following Fall Break already feels like so long ago, even though it felt like everything happened in a blur. I suspect a similar sentiment will be amplified at the end of the semester; especially since we have entered the Final Countdown of our Capstone.

We hit the ground running with our second CAB meeting on Monday, right after internships. Dinner and dessert were provided, and a tour of the Coastal Federation and its nearby living shoreline, but the main course was definitely our group presentations. We split into three categories – Human Dimensions, Historical Data, and Field Data Collection – and presented on our group’s process, progress, and findings to a small group of CAB members, fielded questions and feedback, then rotated. The constructive feedback gave us valuable perspective on where we were at and, realistically, where we can improve and focus on for the remainder of the semester.

The results of our CAB meeting flowed into Tuesday, when we have our weekly afternoon Capstone sessions. The feedback from the night before had given everyone a reality check and inspired us to look at the bigger picture and definitively re-outline a game plan for the rest of the semester. After much discussion and reflection, some critical decisions had to be made on a broader scale, but this certainly helped to further navigate the best possible direction of the rest of our Capstone and overall semester. With only seven weeks left of the semester, outlined on the board, we kicked our project into higher gear.

The momentum of our Capstone game plan continued into Wednesday, which was dedicated to Capstone work. As a general workday with a plethora of tasks and limited hours, everyone coordinated and split up to tackle various necessary parts of the Capstone, including: Coding with NVivo; Transcribing interviews; Visiting the Health and Water Departments to request relevant historical/current data; and another round of water sampling and lab processing. It was quite productive, as Capstone days tend to go, but our activities did not end at 4:30pm this time.

As it so happens, Wednesday night was also the night of a Full Moon. Of course, this was the perfect opportunity to engage in a Night Sky Mapping Lab, and so that is exactly what we did as we found ourselves back at CSI at 7:00pm. After a brief introduction of the lab and equipment, we took a detour to Dunkin’ Donuts. Armed with adequate caffeine and sugary pastries, we continued into the night to various locations, testing various conditions at each site while stargazing a beautiful sky.

 

But the week was far from over. Paper presentations and a quiz dominated class time throughout Thursday. We left CSI that day with a game plan ready for sampling and processing throughout the predicted rainfall for the weekend, because science never sleeps.

On Friday, we spent the whole day with Dave Sybert, who also works at CSI as an education specialist. After a brief presentation on ecological restoration, we embarked on our second boat lab of the semester to experience more hands-on exploration of the coastal environment. The impending rain did not stop us from wading into the water and collecting various fish and crabs in the nets. 

In fact, I would even say we were well-prepared, and took advantage of the rain to take more water samples later that day!

 

 

A final post-rain sampling for the weekend took place early Saturday morning, after which another lab processing group stored and tested all the samples for nutrients and caffeine content. The latter process was recently added to our protocol – from four hours of processing the night before and almost eight hours on Saturday, we soon learned that caffeine analysis could be quite time-intensive. Nonetheless, we are excited to analyze our results in light of the overall Capstone project.

That night, several of us decided to embrace the Halloween spirit in a variety of costumes that showcase our unique, dynamic personalities.

As the beginnings of a new week approached, a group of us drove on Sunday to watch the sunset and bask in its warm glow. Golden Hour continued, as did the feeling of serendipity as we reflected on the beauty and energy of this place and the fact that we are all experiencing this semester together.