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‘The very best’: Review-Journal welcomes its summer 2024 internship class

Six up-and-coming journalists joined the ranks of the Las Vegas Review-Journal’s newsgathering and production operations as part of the media outlet’s long-running summer internship program.

For the next 10 to 12 weeks, the young, journalistically diverse crop will gain professional experience covering the sometimes unpredictable valley.

“We are so excited about this year’s class of summer interns, who come to us from as near as UNLV and as far as the East Coast,” said Review-Journal Assistant Managing Editor Carri Geer Thevenot. “We had so many strong applicants that we were able to select the very best, including some who are recent college graduates and some who have already had prior internships.”

The half-dozen professionals were assigned to the newspaper’s Metro and business desks, and the photo and digital departments.

Meet the journalists

Recently graduated from the University of Notre Dame, Peter Breen edited and wrote for “The Observer,” the school’s daily newspaper.

Breen was intrigued to learn about the Review-Journal’s internship program, noting that Las Vegas appears to be an interesting news town.

“As an aspiring young journalist, it looked like a good opportunity,” he said. “I’ve done internships before where it’s sitting behind the desk and you’re rewriting press releases all day.”

In Las Vegas, the 22-year-old has been dispatched to cover the local unsheltered community as the summer heat soared into triple digits.

Breen said journalism peaked his interest “halfway through college,” but that he’s always enjoyed the writing craft.

He’s paired that passion with reporting.

“You get to dip your toe into a lot of different subjects and areas, and I think I’m someone who’s interested in a lot of different things,” he said.

Government transparency

UNLV graduate Annie Vong plans to enroll in law school to ultimately become a First Amendment attorney to represent media organizations and hold government bodies accountable.

The 21-year-old studied political science, public policy, and gender and sexuality studies.

Vong also worked as a student researcher for the Brookings Mountain West think tank, where she penned fact sheets related to homelessness, the environment and the Nevada Legislature.

Unlike the student newspaper, the Review-Journal has taught her to write on tight deadlines.

“I’ve liked the variety of things that they’ve had me do,” she said about her assignments, which include litigation and local government stories.

She’s enjoyed the explanatory aspect to her stories, adding that without journalists, readers might have a difficult time understanding complex issues.

“I think it’s very important to have newspapers hold government accountable on what they do well and what they don’t do well,” Vong said.

A photographer’s ‘calling’

Daniel “DJ” Jacobi II considers journalism a calling.

The 22-year-old photographer, who recently graduated from Iowa State University, has a passion for telling stories visually.

“I like to say that I work like a picture book,” he said.

His photo assignments with the Review-Journal include a Las Vegas police graduation, election coverage and making images of the Strip from atop the High Roller.

Jacobi also photographed a homicide scene for the first time, a change of pace compared with his work with the student newspaper, he said.

Jacobi said he’s excited about continuing to document the 2024 election, and better getting to know Southern Nevada.

“I hope to continue to grow in Las Vegas and get a different perspective through the newspaper,” he said.

‘I’m happy here’

Growing up, Ella Thompson aspired to be an author.

Later in life, the University of Florida senior, who expects to graduate in the winter, shifted her gears and decided to focus her writing skills into journalism.

“I really like writing and I like talking to people, too,” said the 21-year-old. “I’m happy here.”

She’s exercised that sentiment with stories about the recent primary election and charter schools.

Thompson believes her time at her student paper prepared her for the internship.

“I like to be surrounded by other reporters and I like being super close to my editors so that I can ask them questions,” she said about her time with the Review-Journal.

She wants to return to Florida a better storyteller.

“I hope just to be a better writer,” Thompson said.

Transition to video

About a year ago, Lukas Katilius decided to shift his focus from still photography to video.

“I like the format of visual storytelling,” said the 21-year-old Columbia College Chicago student, adding that the art is more easily digestible.

He’s enjoyed taking in the city and covering assignments more peculiar than he’s used to, such as a recent appearance from business magnate and Virgin Group CEO Richard Branson.

“It was very different than anything I had experienced before,” Katilius said.

He said he wants to take lessons learned in Las Vegas back to his student publication.

“I feel like in doing that, it’s a really good way for me to personally learn it,” Katilius said.

Visual storytelling helps him practice his creative side.

“I like being able to tell people’s stories and feel like I’m making an impact, and doing something important,” Katilius said, “while also still having the ability to be creative and have my own creative input in the way I tell stories.”

Happy medium

UNLV student Samantha Segura initially set out to study psychology, but always has had a passion for media.

“I realized that I really would be happier in journalism,” said the 21-year-old who’s slated to graduate next year.

Just Thursday, Segura was sent out to cover an overpopulation crisis at the Animal Foundation shelter.

“It was really great exposure and experience,” she said.

At UNLV, she’s part of Rebel Media Group, which allows students to help departments craft social media strategies.

In December, she wrote for the student newspaper after a gunman killed three professors before he died in a shootout with school police.

Segura hopes to continue to learn the journalism craft at the Review-Journal.

“I definitely want to grow my writing experience,” she said.

Contact Ricardo Torres-Cortez at rtorres@reviewjournal.com.

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