A standout

One of CN&R’s hardest-working former interns

I’ve worked with many interns during my nearly seven years at the CN&R, so many, in fact, that it’s sometimes hard to keep track of names and faces. But certain students have stood out, and for me, those are the ones who were hardworking and hungry to learn and grow as reporters and writers.

I don’t have much use for any other type. The lazy ones know this from experience.

The CN&R is currently accepting applications from potential interns: college students with reporting experience. We look for candidates who are curious, attentive to detail, and unafraid to talk to strangers. Years ago, we’d get loads of résumés. But as newspapers began shrinking—shedding staff and literally shrinking in size—the applications slowed to a trickle. Whereas once we’d have four or five interns per semester, we now take on only a few—just the most promising and experienced.

I started my career in journalism as an intern at a daily paper, so I know the value of an internship. I was hired on as a staff writer at the end of what was supposed to be an eight-week gig. It was a stroke of luck that a position came open, but my getting the job wasn’t a fluke. Others, including a longtime part-timer, wanted the job, but I’d worked harder.

That brings me to some really sad news about a former intern, one of those hardworking standouts I was referring to. In the fall of 2010, I had the pleasure of working with Andrea LaVoy Wagner.

Back then, I was the paper’s news editor, typically the person who works most closely with the interns. Andrea impressed me immensely. For starters, she was a good writer. She had no ego and took direction easily. Andrea wrote a dozen stories for the CN&R during her internship. She did that while also earning a journalism degree at Chico State and, most important, raising two young sons as a single mom.

At that time, I hadn’t had my son. But I could still appreciate how hard Andrea worked to do it all. She did everything with grace, though I’m sure she didn’t see it that way all the time.

Andrea went on to get reporting gigs in the North State and New York, but her career has been on hold in recent months, as she cared for a gravely ill child. And now she’s grieving. I was heartbroken to hear that Andrea’s eldest son, 14-year-old Byron, succumbed to brain cancer last month, on Christmas morning. Now that I’m a mom, I can think of nothing more devastating than losing a child. My heart breaks for her.

If you remember Andrea’s good work for the CN&R, or even if you don’t, and you would like to help her get through what is undoubtedly the hardest time in her life, check out this website set up by her friends: www.giveforward.com/fundraiser/mnp3/byron-s-fund. There, you can give a donation or simply send a note of condolence.

Melissa Daugherty is editor of the CN&R