Hannah Kanik, 2019, Roseburg News-Review
It was 7 a.m. and about midway through her Snowden internship, when Hannah Kanik woke up to her phone ringing.
Her first thought was that she had overslept and was late to work. But it was her editor on the other line, telling her that there was a large fire blanketing a nearby freeway and she had roughly fifteen minutes to get to the newsroom.
“It felt like a fire drill, I had to get up and just go and was on a deadline whirlwind for a couple of hours,” Kanik said. “But (the story) was kind of my biggest accomplishment during the internship.”
Today, Kanik can be found chasing stories all around the Californian valleys as a reporter for the Bay Area News Group. But three years ago, she was a 2019 Snowden reporting intern for The News-Review, running across Roseburg to report the latest local news.
“On my first day, I probably looked like a debate kid, I was so overdressed…But I remember I drove around Roseburg with one of my editors to come up with ten story ideas from my observations as a new person in town,” she said. “And I kind of hit the ground running after that.”
Before the News-Review, Kanik had already built quite the resume, like working for the University of Oregon student newspaper, the Daily Emerald, and another internship at Southwark News, a newspaper based in London. She said her time in Roseburg was primarily focused on learning the professional aspects of journalism and how to develop relationships within a new community.
As an intern, Kanik covered stories ranging from a Make-A-Wish kid fulfilling her dream of owning an animal pen to a profile piece on two separate religions sharing a house of worship.
And within every headline and conversation with a community member, Kanik assembled a heavy toolkit of skills that she would carry with her long after the Roseburg newsroom.
“You’re trusted with a lot of responsibility as a Snowden intern. They trust you to tackle bigger stories, and treat you like a member of a newsroom rather than just an intern. Having that expectation and responsibility on your shoulders —at least in my case —helped me feel more accountable,” she said. “Which I think really helped me in my career today.”
After the internship, Kanick graduated with her bachelor’s in journalism and packed her bags to move across the country to Pennsylvania. She worked as a news intern with PennLive before accepting a staff position with PhillyVoice. In 2021, Kanik made the trip back to the West Coast to take a reporting position for The Mercury News, The Los Gatos Weekly, and Saratoga News in California.
“Having Snowden on my resume while applying for other jobs was definitely in the ‘pro category’. Being in an intern program that includes ethics training and case studies… those components were helpful when I would reflect on them during interviews, and it worked out in my favor,” she said.
Reflecting on her time in Roseburg, Kanik advises new interns to not be afraid to pitch big stories and pursue collaborative projects with others in the newsroom.
“The network of people that you meet through Snowden is so valuable and the network spans larger than you think it would,” she said.
Above all else, her advice is to “take a breath” and learn as much as possible within the ten weeks.
“Be a sponge and absorb,” she said.