Rilyn Eischens

Data Intern at The Cedar Rapids Gazette

Major: Professional journalism
Graduation year: 2018

Rilyn Eischens


Interviewed by Amanda Fretheim Gates

With which organization did you intern? 

I interned at The Cedar Rapids Gazette through the Dow Jones News Fund data program. 
Where is it located? 

Cedar Rapids, Iowa 
How did you find out about the internship? 

I found out about this internship through HSMJC!
What were your responsibilities? 

I was a data intern at the paper, so I worked on a lot of data projects. Some of them involved helping other reporters track down data for their own stories, and others I tackled on my own. In terms of working with data, I was responsible for every part of the process from finding data to deciding on a color scheme for the final visualization. 
What did you most enjoy?

I loved learning new skills. I had the chance to practice data analysis techniques I already knew and to try some that were totally new to me. Each project was a fun, unique challenge. 
What is something that you learned from your internship experience? 

It's important to be your own advocate as an intern. Do great work on the assignments you're given, but don't wait around for them - digging for your own pitches is good practice and gives you a chance to work on something you're super interested in. 
How will your internship help you in your future studies/career? 

This internship gave me hands-on data journalism experience that I can use to improve my coverage of any beat in the future. Even if I don't end up working as a data journalist, the skills I learned this summer will be applicable in a wide range of positions. 
What's one piece of advice you would give other students about securing an exciting internship? 

Don't be afraid to take a chance and apply for long-shot internships! Applying far and wide can be a pain, but it's worth the time.