By the time most of you read this, I will be working in a newsroom hundreds of miles away from Chapel Hill.
It’s because of The Daily Tar Heel that I can.
Before coming to UNC, I had worked at a student-run paper for two years but wasn’t sure I wanted to do it again or if I wanted to pursue journalism — but the DTH changed all of that for me.
During my four years in the newsroom, I got to learn more than I ever thought. Being at the DTH taught me the ins and outs of journalism, challenged me to report on complex stories and helped me fully discover my love of news. It gave me experiences that I never thought I would have as a reporter and editor.
If any of that sounds interesting to you, here’s more information about how to join the DTH.
More on the newsroom
The DTH operates with a “teaching paper” philosophy, meaning that it requires no experience from students who are interested in applying. The newsroom offers workshops and training throughout the year to help staffers learn things like interview techniques, filing a public records request and writing an investigative story.
The newsroom has a variety of reporting sections — including university, city and state, and sports — in addition to an Editorial Board, or opinion section. It also has teams for photojournalism, design, copy editing and audience engagement.
The DTH offers an in-depth experience for students to learn a plethora of skills and explore different parts of journalism in a changing news landscape.
The paper has been serving the UNC and Orange County communities for 129 years, but it isn’t perfect. As a newsroom, we still have a lot to learn about diversity, equity and inclusion, as well as student burnout.
I’ll be the first to admit that at times, working at the DTH was physically and emotionally difficult. The news cycle at UNC is unforgiving sometimes.
But I don’t regret applying for the DTH because what made it worth it for me was the community I found. Even through tough news and tiring nights, the newsroom gave me a group of people to navigate things with.
While I learned a lot in my reporting, the most important lessons about being a good journalist and a good person came from them.
How and when to apply
The DTH opens applications at the start of each semester and the summer. Fall 2022 newsroom applications will go live in late summer. The DTH has a “hiring” section on its website for students to keep an eye out on the application and deadline.
The application asks for desk preferences, questions about students’ interest in the DTH and for a writing sample — but applicants can submit any recent writing they’ve done even if it’s not a news article.
Any student at UNC can apply to be on the DTH’s staff. Entry-level positions do not pay, but editors receive a small stipend every two weeks. Yearlong and summer editing staff are hired in the late spring of each school year.
Upon acceptance, new hires will receive an orientation and training specific to the team that they are on. Assignments are given on a weekly basis, but may vary on the desk.
Additional training and professional development opportunities are provided throughout the year. The newsroom also offers the Sharif Durhams Leadership Program, which is a talent and leadership development course for DTH students from underrepresented groups.
As a member of the first cohort of SDLP, I can’t say enough about having a community of people who shared similar backgrounds within the newsroom. Through the program, I found some of my best mentors and got to learn more about life in the journalism industry.
I know this might seem like a lot of information right now — I felt the same way when I applied during my first semester at UNC.
But if you’re an aspiring journalist or just interested in the news and how it works, I encourage you to try out the DTH and see how it fits. Because it could be a game-changer.
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