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Two of OMN’s own accepted into Charles Snowden program for excellence in journalism
May 2, 2023
Two of Oregon State University and Orange Media Network’s beloved writers, Nino Paoli and Natalie Sharp, were recently accepted into the prestigious Charles Snowden Program for Excellence in Journalism, each being placed at a different publication in Oregon for the summer.
The Snowden Internship is a summer program for university-level student journalists across the state of Oregon that pays tribute to Charles Snowden, former editor at the Oregon Journal and The Oregonian. The program has funded over 250 internships for aspiring journalists for over 25 years.
Natalie Sharp is a third-year at OSU from Portland, Oregon studying public policy and minoring in applied journalism.
Despite growing up with dyslexia and struggling more than others in learning to read and write, Sharp said she had great high school English teachers who made classes enjoyable, and writing just started to “click” for her.
Sharp became interested in journalism in high school after researching which careers had the power to make a difference. Motivated by being able to make a change, she decided journalism was the best career path for her.
Sharp has been a writer for a little over a year at Beaver’s Digest. Her favorite topic of Beaver’s Digest was the “Let’s Talk About Sex” issue where she wrote a story on female pleasure and loved the opportunity to connect with “some really cool people” in her community.
“I’ve just had a really positive experience here, and it’s really allowed me to explore my journalism further,” Sharp said. “I’ve really appreciated Beaver’s Digest as well, because they have allowed me to take focus on stories that I care about, rather than just straight-up news stories, which I’m interested in, but I really care about going into more in-depth stories.”
Sharp, armed with plenty of journalism experience, is also participating in John’s photojournalism internship called “Photographing Social Justice,” inspiring her to pursue multimedia journalism.
“My generation is on social media, and we’re not like necessarily reading news articles all the time or watching videos and looking at pictures, and so that feels very applicable to be doing right now,” Sharp said.
In the future, Sharp plans on combining journalism and public policy to report on important issues in policy to educate the community.
“I think it’s really important to have informed journalists talking about the policy issues in their local communities,” Sharp said.
Sharp will be working at the Salem Reporter, an all-digital media hub with a team of six. She’s excited to be working in a bigger city where her policy and multimedia experiences can grow.
“Honestly, I still don’t exactly know what I want to do, but I feel excited with journalism,” Sharp said.
“I would encourage a lot of people thinking about journalism–just try it out,” she said. “Because I have a lot of family members who thought about going into journalism, and now that they’ve heard that I’m doing it, they’re like, ‘Oh, I wish I would have actually done that.’”
Paoli is a fourth-year creative writing major with a minor in applied journalism at OSU. With plenty of journalistic experience under his belt, Paoli has worked at The Daily Barometer, OSU’s school newspaper, as a profile and feature writer for the College of Liberal Arts. In addition, he has taken part in internships in environmental journalism with Ben Goldfarb, an environmental journalist, and photojournalism under Chris Johns, a former editor-in-chief of National Geographic.
At OMN, Paoli said he loves the fact that all the mediums are independent, as colleagues are considered contracted workers, not student employees. Writers and editors can publish about topics that may not be in line with what the OSU administration wants, such as inequality and equity issues on campus.
“There are a lot of driven people at OMN who always make me want to work even harder. There’s also a lot of support; I love working with editors and writers and photographers at OMN because they’ve all been really helpful and taught me new things,” Paoli said. “It’s just really good real-life work experience for if you’re looking to be a journalist.”
Paoli likes science journalism in particular because it’s important to cover break-through or interesting research for the public. Scientific writing is often highly technical and inaccessible to many readers, so he finds it important to make that information more digestible for the public.
Paoli’s greatest passions are the lifelong journey of finding one’s identity and the human experience. “It would be really cool to talk to people about identity, especially being a part of an underrepresented or marginalized community per se,” Paoli said. “Talking about how they found an identity in a white-dominant culture, and even people who do identify as white, and talk about how they find an identity because there’s so many identities to have: social, political, cultural.”
Placed at the La Grande Observer in La Grande, Oregon, Paoli is enthusiastic about experiencing a new location, learning more about it and reporting on the goings-on in the community.
“I’m really excited about the opportunity to write for a publication that’s a further distance from a university. It really feels like its own entity,” Paoli said. “I won’t be necessarily focusing on that university; I’ll be focusing more on the community at large.”
As aspiring journalists themselves, Paoli and Sharp have a plethora of advice for future writers.
“No job is ever too small for you. You really need to get experience writing news regularly, and so I think I joined the (Daily) Barometer too late, honestly,” Paoli said. “When I did so many doors opened up for me and I got so much invaluable experience.”
Sharp said to not be afraid to just start with no experience because aspiring writers can pick up the reins of journalism as they go.
Paoli and Sharp will start their 10-week Snowden internship this summer to experience “real-world” journalism in Oregon, polishing their skills under seasoned writers and editors for their future careers.
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