My internship with the Philadelphia Business Journal

With the editorial staff of the Philadelphia Business Journal on May 5, 2008.

Last Thursday, during a week revisit to Philadelphia, I shared happy hour with a few friends from my internship with the Philadelphia Business Journal, with which I had a great six month-internship the last semester of my college career.

With a little work, I got tons of solid clips and great experience (detailed below) with the Journal, and so I thought it was worth pointing that out.

The primary responsibilities of editorial interns with PBJ, owned by American City Business Journals, are to keep up their pages that follow the region’s philanthropic community, profile business leaders and all managerial movements in and around the city. While I pitched other stories of greater size, these base-level jobs never offered anything more than a few hundred words. Still, I worked hard to make them worth reading – if only to keep me focused and interested.

The internship meant a lot more than all of that, though.

Special Reports Editor Sonja Sherwood took notice of my work and, appropriately displaying the great environment in the Journal newsroom, sent me this e-mail mid-way through my internship.

By the way, I like what you did with the save 2nd base story last week and with the Firstrust good works this week. You’ve actually made that page interesting to read.

During the last staff meeting – to which I was always invited – Editor Bernie Dagenais said that I never think something is too small a job. The entire staff always treated me as a peer, which meant a great deal. They were kind and downright fun.

I like to think I was too. I played air guitar with Peter Key, called Jeff Blumenthal “Bluey,” and told dirty jokes with page designer John Spencer and graphic designer Eric. After being named one of the 100 most promising young journalists by college news service UWire, they asked Sonja to reflect on my work. She gave anything but a typical response.

Chris Wink promised that he would be our best intern before the internship had begun. When he filed his stories, he would goalpost his arms in the air and yell “Go team!” He identified and lampooned every one of our quirks in record time. He flexed. He preened. Such self-assurance could have backfired but in his case, he lived up to the boast, deserved the triumph and kept us all entertained. That’s because he made some of the most unremarkable corners of our paper more interesting and relevant through his reporting and belief that no job was too small to do well. [Source]

I can only wonder what the people at UWire thought.

After filing my last stories for the Journal, Sonja responded with perhaps the kindest e-mail I have ever received.

I sure hope somebody hires you.

Looking for a good internship, a place to try to break into business reporting or a spot to freelance? You should be so lucky as to even get a shot with the Philadelphia Business Journal.

Update 1/5/09: In addition to writing a weekly column of sorts highlighting one business leader in a section called On the Job and a short weekly feature on one philanthropic event called Good Works, I categorized and organized a database of regional business hirings, firings and retirements called On the Move, and, perhaps more importantly, got a handful of solid business clips. Below see the best.

Philadelphia Business Journal | May 16, 2008

Delaware County college builds tech and science centers

Delaware County Community College has launched $60 million in renovation and new construction to better outfit its Marple Township campus for science, technology engineering and math programs by 2009.

The community college broke ground on a 105,000-square-foot science building and a 32,000-square-foot technical building on April 18. Its mission is to reconnect students with a regional business community increasingly in need of skilled labor... Read more.

Philadelphia Business Journal | Feb. 22, 2008

Globe-trotting accountants are in demand

By Christopher Wink

Doug Fuhrman lived in Germany for six years.

“There were tremendous highs,” he said. ”And there were tremendous lows.”

Like when he and his wife wanted a traditional Thanksgiving for their two small children.

“We were trying to make this an American holiday,” he said.

Read more.

Philadelphia Business Journal | April 28, 2008

Tourism measuring primary effects

By Peter Van Allen and Christopher Wink

The Pennsylvania primary that had Sens. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama criss-crossing the state spotlighted Philadelphia in a rare way. Tourism officials sought to capitalize.

Whether it was the CNN truck parked in front of the Philadelphia Museum of Art or the television satellite trucks lined up outside the National Constitution Center, Philadelphia was in the national eye.

Read more.