The power of the internship

Newhouse students are encouraged to do at least one internship during their undergraduate studies. Richard Chang ’21 did five.

Richard Chang '21
Richard Chang ’21

Richard Chang ’21 didn’t intend to apply to Syracuse University, let alone attend the school.

“I went to AMSA, the Advanced Math and Science Academy, which is a public school in [Marlborough, Massachusetts],” Chang says. “I was one of the only people from my high school who went into a non-STEM field.”

But working on a story about opioid addiction for his high school newspaper was a transformative experience for Chang, and it made him decide to strike off in a different direction: journalism.

For the story, Chang interviewed someone who had personal experience with opioid addiction.

“He was willing to tell me his whole story about his entire life. And it was like, ‘Oh my God.’ I love being able to talk to people and find out a little bit more about life, through writing and reporting and telling these stories.”

He applied to Newhouse at the last minute, without ever visiting campus, and was accepted to the newspaper and online journalism program, where he found a mentor in associate professor Roy Gutterman.

“I met Professor Gutterman at an orientation event,” Chang says. “He took me under his wing and helped guide me throughout my time at Newhouse as my adviser. He looked over my résumé a hundred times. He’s done everything he could to mentor me and prepare me for the professional world.”

In his role as mentor, Gutterman helped Chang get his very first internship the summer after his first year, writing about business and the arts for the MetroWest Daily News in Boston.

“It was a lot of fun advising him through internships,” Gutterman says. “Being able to connect with a student like Richard and follow his development as a serious journalist really speaks to the special connection we have with our students here.”

During the school year, Chang worked at The Daily Orange, starting as a contributing writer. The summer after his sophomore year, he took his next internship, this time as a paid Newhouse-LinkedIn Editorial Fellow.

“I worked mainly on the special projects desk, which was a lot of data journalism stuff,” Chang says. “I gained a lot of skills with digital journalism, working for what is essentially a social media network, and getting an idea of how news works through social media.”

In the fall of 2020, Chang became digital managing editor at The Daily Orange, running the newspaper remotely during a semester defined by pandemic and uncertainty. That spring, while participating in the Newhouse NYC program, Chang took on his third internship, this time covering politics for CNN. There, he was also able to utilize the data visualization skills he had learned at LinkedIn.

“I got to do a lot with data spreadsheets and [made] data visuals for stories,” Chang says. “They had me join the KFILE investigative team under [senior editor] Andrew Kaczynski. I learned a lot about investigative journalism through working on that team.”

Not one to take a break, Chang then rolled into his fourth internship at Forbes, where he worked on the annual college rankings list. The paid position was supported by Newhouse’s partnership with Forbes.

“I worked a lot with the methodology,” Chang says, noting that he helped decide which factors contributed to the rankings. “Alongside working to produce that list, I was also writing my own articles on higher education, especially how law plays into higher ed.”

During the fall of 2021, Chang was busy preparing to graduate early, in December. “I knew I would save some money and I could enter the workforce a little bit earlier than most of my peers.”

Just before he graduated, Chang earned his fifth internship offer from Forbes, where he will be working on the wealth desk in New York this spring. “I’ll be able to focus on sectors I’m interested in, like politics and health care. I’m excited for that. I think it’ll be a good internship.”

“It is such an honor to be asked to stay on at an internship,” says Newhouse NYC director Cheryl Brody Franklin. “When hiring managers see that on your resume, they know that you were a true asset to the team, and it’s a powerful example of why someone should hire you.”

As for Chang, he’s got a clear idea of where he wants to go next. “I would probably be happy anywhere covering politics, no matter what type of policy, whether it’s national or state and local politics.”