If you’re from Boston, or even the greater Boston area, you probably know the slow anticipation of driving along the Mass Pike waiting to see what’s on the WGBH Digital Mural. My personal favorite is when Arthur or Curious George graces the screen covering the exterior wall of the WGBH studios. Never had I dreamed of actually being able to go inside the building itself, until I had the fabulously Kenyon-esque opportunity of doing a job shadow with a Kenyon alumnus this past winter break!
As a sophomore English major, I’m still trying to figure out different career paths to pursue, with journalism definitely being pretty high up on the list. I was fortunate to spend three days shadowing Paul Singer ’88 of the New England Center for Investigative Reporting and WGBH, an experience that was incredibly fulfilling and invigorating.
Between taking the commuter rail and attempting to make unsuccessful conversation with the overtired Bostonians sitting next to me, and of course wearing the full extent of my limited selection of J.Crew business casual, I was really granted the full experience. Cue the intro of The Mary Tyler Moore Show, please!
My first day started off quite well, as I was pretty sure I saw a Celtics player while grabbing my morning coffee. With the team’s practice facility right next to WGBH, who else could the extremely tall man in the green warm-up suit have been? After my biggest exposure to athleticism in quite a while (the KAC and I are in a long-distance relationship) I walked into the studio to see where all the ~magic~ happened. After meeting Singer, hearing about some of his Kenyon experiences and going around the building for a tour, I was actually able to assist in finding and recording data for an investigative article he was working on. Being able to just jump right into a day in the life of an investigative reporter was fascinating for me, and made my job shadow go by much faster than I would have liked.
I was obviously thrilled to report back to my dad that the work I had done was “strictly confidential.” Yes, me hunched over a computer scanning documents may not have been quite as dramatic as Bob Woodward meeting up with Deep Throat in a parking garage, but it was fascinating to me nonetheless. After diligently scanning federal documents for three days and learning that people are referred to by their last name in a newsroom, my job shadow sadly came to an end.
The fun didn’t stop there, though! A few weeks later, Singer finished the article I had helped with the data for and sent it my way. With the title, “Elizabeth Warren Has Evolved: She Now Pays Interns More Than Anyone Else In Congress,” the data I had helped analyze had somehow been turned into a full piece of investigative reporting. (Check it out! My name is at the bottom.) Using my short job shadow to help out with a piece of real journalism was absolutely riveting, and an experience I won’t forget.
Bryn Seltzer ’21 is an English major from Needham, Massachusetts.