Long gone are the days when journalists could learn reporting skills and nothing else.

These days a reporter covering government needs to understand data science. Education news blends with cultural trends. Environmental coverage is deeply climatological. Law is everywhere.

The upshot: Anyone interested in reporting, as a career, would be wise to cultivate a second area of expertise or interest. 

PublicSource’s spring 2023 intern class has that covered. The four students joining our professional news staff this semester are invested in better informing Pittsburgh, but each one brings other areas of study, interests and hobbies to the practice of reporting.

That can only help, as they work through a rigorous immersion in our fact-based reporting process.

Interns typically start by fact-checking the work of other reporters. That gives them a look at the interviews, documents and data that underlie PublicSource’s enterprise journalism.

Writing interns are also immersed in Board Explorer, a transparency portal that gives the people of Pittsburgh and Allegheny County a look at the compositions of 60 important boards which make decisions on everything from air quality to zoning.

Interns also regularly author or co-author stories or photo essays on issues of civic importance. Those stories are typically informed by the life experiences, interests and raw curiosity they bring to the newsroom.

Here are the students joining us this spring:

PublicSource intern Dakota Castro-Jarrett sits for a portrait on Thursday, Jan. 26, 2023, in the organization’s Uptown newsroom. (Photo by Stephanie Strasburg/PublicSource)
Dakota Castro-Jarrett (Photo by Stephanie Strasburg/PublicSource)

Dakota Castro-Jarrett is a second-year student at Northeastern University in Boston, studying journalism and cultural anthropology. Born and raised in Pittsburgh, Dakota has written for his school’s independent student newspaper The Huntington News, his school’s music magazine Tastemakers, as well as writing a 2021 essay for PublicSource. He begins his internship pursuing stories focused on education and politics. During his free time he enjoys listening to music and exploring all the local oddities in the Pittsburgh area. Contact: dakota@publicsource.org

Betul Tuncer. (Photo by Stephanie Strasburg/PublicSource)
Betul Tuncer (Photo by Stephanie Strasburg/PublicSource)

Betul Tuncer is a junior at the University of Pittsburgh majoring in media and professional communications and legal studies with a certificate in digital media. A longtime Pittsburgh resident, Betul has worked at The Pitt News for three years, taking on positions of staff writer, assistant news editor and most recently managing editor. She has an interest in writing and storytelling and hopes to pursue a career in journalism. When she’s not working to grow her experience in journalism, Betul enjoys reading, visiting museums and taking photos with 35mm film. Contact: betul@publicsource.org

Amaya Lobato-Rivas (Courtesy of Amaya Lobato-Rivas)
Amaya Lobato-Rivas (Courtesy of Amaya Lobato-Rivas)

Amaya Lobato-Rivas, a visuals intern, is a second-year student at the University of Pittsburgh majoring in media and professional communication and minoring in film and media studies. Originally from Trujillo Alto, Puerto Rico, Amaya uses photography to connect with the people around her, both strangers and loved ones. As much as she enjoys island life, Amaya appreciates Pittsburgh and the photographic opportunities it has to offer. Aside from her personal photo projects, she is a photographer for The Pitt News, and freelanced for PublicSource before her internship. When she’s not taking pictures, Amaya enjoys nature walks, making playlists on Spotify and watching rom-coms. Contact: amaya@publicsource.org

Kalilah Stein (Courtesy of Kalilah Stein)
Kalilah Stein (Courtesy of Kalilah Stein)

Kalilah Stein is a freshman at Pittsburgh Science and Technology Academy [SciTech] in the Pittsburgh Public School District. She has lived her whole life in Pittsburgh and seen both its beauties and issues firsthand. Focused on fact-checking for PublicSource, she hopes to help work toward a better Pittsburgh and pursue a career in journalism. In her free time she enjoys reading, painting and exploring the city. Contact: kalilah@publicsource.org

Rich Lord is PublicSource’s managing editor. He can be reached at rich@publicsource.org.

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Rich is the managing editor of PublicSource. He joined the team in 2020, serving as a reporter focused on housing and economic development and an assistant editor. He reported for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette...