Rick’s Corner – Shafkat Anowar at AP Chicago
Rick Varley is the director of Shidler College’s Internship & Career Development Office. In this column, Varley selects an outstanding student to share their internship experience during the Fall 2020 and Spring 2021 semesters, Varley placed 291 Shidler students in internships.
In this inaugural feature, recent graduate Shafkat Anowar, BBA ‘21, shares a day in the life as a multimedia intern for the Associated Press (AP) in Chicago this past spring. Anowar recently accepted a full-time position as a visual journalist with the Dallas Morning News.
AP Internship Experience
By Shafkat Anowar
When the pandemic shattered all my internship opportunities, I was stuck dealing with extreme uncertainty of life. But “when one door closes, another opens.”
This past spring, I got to live my dream for six months as a multimedia intern at the Associated Press (AP) in Chicago. I found it hard to believe that it was me working for this global organization. Reality hit me when I first walked into the newsroom in downtown Chicago. There were empty chairs, dark screen monitors, wide open hallways and dimmed vending machine. I soon realized everyone was working from home. Although working remotely was a drawback in terms of experience, I still found it convenient to cope with my online classes at Shidler.
After not being able to work for about a year, I slowly eased into the rhythm and the amount of work I was assigned. Every assignment was different. Each had a different flavor that made it interesting. After submitting the assignments, the number of overwhelming responses from my colleagues and editors around the country soon conquered my fear.
Shafkat Anowar, BBA ‘21, now works as a visual journalist with the Dallas Morning News.
One thing I aimed to learned during my internship was to handle the tremendous time pressure and produce content on deadline. The AP is a global news organization and operates on strict timelines. Different publications, newspapers, TV and radio channels depend on the AP to provide content. Other than enterprise stories, I was required to produce quickly with limited resources.
At times it is necessary to leave one’s comfort zone. For me, that was leaving Hawai‘i and learning to adapt to a fast-paced environment on the continental U.S. Moreover, it was to produce assignments based on rural areas in the Midwest. Toward the end of my internship, I was assigned to a political story and was sent to a rural city in Illinois called Galesburg. That was the dream assignment for my internship.
I enjoy politics and being able to work in this area was beyond my expectations. Before Galesburg, I had no idea what life looked like in rural America. The city consisted of one road downtown, a college with about 1,500 students and many houses around downtown. People knew me by face after roaming around for a couple of hours on my first day. It was quite a transition coming from Chicago. I grew by talking to people in this small town, developing relationships and gaining trust.
Over the duration of this internship, my organizational skills developed far beyond my expectations. I set goals every week for both work and school. It was something that came after countless sleepless nights, errors, and trials but once the progress was visible, I did not stop. Prioritizing is a necessary tool to know and implement upon entering the professional world. I am glad I got a taste of it sooner rather than later through my internship.
I was not hesitant to apply for this internship but I doubted I would get a call back for an interview. Despite being shocked by the news that I had been selected, I just knew I had to seize every opportunity during my time at the AP. It was my childhood dream to work for a global news agency. Thus, knowing this time might never come again, I aimed to enjoy the present and take on each challenge as they came. I was scared at first but then I realized that if it is scary that means the work is important. Before every assignment, the best I could do is try, and in case I failed, I would try harder the next time.