Alisha Jucevic, 2014, Eugene Register-Guard
In 2014, Alisha Jucevic sat in a Ferris wheel pod with a mother and her newly adopted daughter.
While taking photographs and trying to capture the absolute joy that flashed across the child’s face in a still frame, Jucevic knew she was entering the right career path.
“I just thought: ‘this is so special that this is my job’. I knew then that I was heading in the right career and doing something I was really passionate about,” she said.
At the time, Jucevic was just dipping her toes into the world of journalism as a photography intern for the Snowden Program, working at the Register-Guard. Now, Alisha Jucevic’s photography credits can be seen in slug lines ranging from The New York Times, The Washington Post, Reuters, and many more.
The now-seasoned photojournalist said the internship program helped her gain the “full picture” of what life could be like working in a newsroom.
While an intern, Jucevic had just finished earning a bachelor’s in journalism and advertising from the University of Oregon. She was initially interested in the prestigious internship program because of how highly her professors talked about it and thought it would be an excellent opportunity to sink her teeth into being a full-time photojournalist.
“I remember my first day at the newspaper and showing up extra early. I was really excited about working in a real news organization and felt the excitement for those next steps, and couldn’t believe that this was really happening,” said Jucevic.
From the moment her first shift started until the very end, Jucevic was cranking out stories ranging from breaking news to long-term projects. She said some of her favorite memories were working alongside photo editor Chris Pietsch during the Emerald baseball games or chipping at a long-term project documenting families who had just adopted a child.
“I covered a little bit of everything and did a variety of stories on sports, news, and in-depth documentary work. In the ten weeks I really got the full picture of what it is like to be a full-time photojournalist working with a newsroom,” she said.
She reflected that the program not only taught her how to be a confident journalist but also how to stay creative while on a strict deadline.
“As a student you have assignments, and writing or taking a photo assignment once a week, two at most. During the internship, it’s a full-time job and I learned how to approach multiple stories a day, and meet deadlines but still have that creativity with each assignment. I also learned (to have) understanding and care for those people you are reporting about,” she said.
Her biggest advice for aspiring Snowden interns is to preserve the mentors and people who helped them along the way.
“Building those connections and friendships are so important because you never know when you will circle back to people,” Jucevic said.
After Snowden, Jucevic took another internship in Texas before securing staff positions at the Dubois County Herald in Indiana and The Columbian in Vancouver, Washington. In 2020, she made the leap toward freelancing full-time, leading her from Portland to Los Angeles. Jucevic said the internship program was her first full jump into “this is what life is like as a photojournalist.”
“I think that is why internships are so great, they are a test to see what path is right for you,” she said. “Snowden showed me that photojournalism was the path that I want to follow and something I was passionate about.”