Covering Coronavirus: Tips, best practices and programs

Introducing the Class of 2020: Verónica Del Valle

The National Press Club Journalism Institute is spotlighting the next generation of journalists, students graduating from college or Master’s programs this spring into a challenging job market, in hopes they’ll meet future bosses and colleagues here who will reach out and support them in building journalism’s future together. 

Name: Verónica Del Valle

School: American University 

Location: Washington, D.C. 

Student media experience: AWOL, The Wash 

Newsroom internships: Voice of America, NPR

What have you learned from your involvement with student media on your campus?

Del Valle: Both in undergrad and during graduate school at American University, student media allowed me to learn the mechanics of a newsroom before being faced with a true professional environment. My time at AWOL, the investigative magazine at AU, showed me the basics of both creating a podcast and social media management. At The Wash, I assumed the role of a beat reporter and was able to produce clips that I was incredibly proud of while applying what I was learning in other classes, like the basics of data journalism.

What have you learned from your internship experience(s)?

Del Valle: Before interning at NPR during graduate school, I interned at a myriad of other places before landing in journalism. I’ve worked in organizing, consulting, and PR before interning at Voice of America and NPR. The sum of all of those experiences encouraged me to be curious professionally and to follow where my interests took me. Once I arrived in a newsroom, all my past lives informed the stories I pitched and the sources and guests I pursued.

What’s been your best moment in journalism?

Del Valle: The first time I heard a story I helped produce on-air at “Weekend All Things Considered” was an all-time high for me. The story focused on COVID-19 back in its earliest days in Wuhan, and I worked to find voices from the city itself instead of relying on a reporter in China to relay the story. I went to graduate school specifically with the goal of interning at NPR, so hearing the fruits of my labor in such a tangible way was my most rewarding moment thus far.

What’s the wackiest story you’ve worked on? 

Del Valle: During my time at “Weekend All Things Considered,” the “Love is Blind” hype was in full bloom. Then, coronavirus hit. Something about the show became resonant immediately. Dating from a distance was no longer just for TV – everyone was doing it. We talked to Cameron Hamilton and Lauren Speed, two contestants from the show who ended up getting married, about their advice for dating in the current moment. Needless to say, being able to participate in the pop culture hype was a beacon of light during the pandemic. 

What do you want to accomplish in your journalism career?

Del Valle: More than anything, I want to make the pulse of the current moment accessible to diverse audiences. My parents are both from Puerto Rico; Spanish is their first language.  There are so many stories I wish I could share with them, and I aspire to bridge the gap between English language media and Spanish language media through any and all mediums.

If you could meet any journalist and ask for her/his advice, who would it be and why?

Del Valle: I admire Terry Nguyen‘s work at The Goods for Vox so deeply. I think she’s always on the pulse of culture and writes about everything under the sun so fluidly. Explaining topics that are still developing with ease is an art that she’s mastered, and I want to learn how she got so good at it! I want to be as smart and quick as she is.

What do you want potential employers to know about you?

Del Valle: I’m willing to apply my skills to anything in the media world. Social media management, reporting, producing, editing, and data are all in my skillset. I spent a year trying to foster my abilities in graduate school and through internships, so I am willing to do anything anywhere in the media world where I could use those skills.

When you aren’t practicing journalism, how do you spend your time?

Del Valle: In quarantine, I’ve taken to baking and cooking more than I did in the time before. As I write this, I have dinner rolls proofing on the kitchen counter. I am also trying to read 50 books this year – quarantine has been particularly good for fulfilling that goal.If you’re a senior studying journalism, or know one, we’re accepting information here for students to feature in the future. If you’re a supporter, you can contribute here to scholarships for journalism students.

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