The Princeton diaries

Undertaking an international training programme is great experience for future careers, explain two Princeton students, who recently summered with the Olive Press

LAST UPDATED: 8 Feb, 2016 @ 13:17

IT’S a far cry from the pomp and decorum of Princeton University, but every summer two students swap their New Jersey campus for the Olive Press’ Costa del Sol newsroom.

The two Princetown University students (centre) in the Olive Press’ Costa del Sol newsroom with Rob Horgan and Iona Napier
The two Princetown University students (centre) in the Olive Press’ Costa del Sol newsroom with Rob Horgan and Iona Napier

The two-month training scheme – now in its sixth year – is part of Princeton’s International Internship programme, allowing budding hacks the chance to experience a real newspaper, working alongside trained journalists while also practising Spanish.

The Olive Press is always a popular destination with the Princeton students and up to a dozen normally apply. The tricky part is selecting just two!

In recent years their tasks have included visiting the poorest and richest places in the country, reliving Hemingway’s experiences of Pamplona and tracking down criminals in Marbella.

What more could you want from a summer holiday!

Here, the 2015 interns discuss their Olive Press experience.

Caitlin Quinn, San Antonio, Texas

SUMMER in southern Spain: the perfect mixture of sun, sand, sea, and…investigative journalism?

I came to the Costa del Sol last summer to work for the Olive Press, Spain’s leading English-language newspaper.

I had applied for the job through my university, which regularly sends students abroad to work during the summer.

The job description promised lots of journalism experience and plenty of after-hours time on the beach — exactly up my street.

In the end, the experience turned out to be every bit as exciting, challenging, and fulfilling as I’d hoped.

When I wasn’t out on assignment, I spent my days at the Olive Press office, where I worked closely with other journalists and staff.

I quickly picked up the tools of the trade: ‘Write in the active, not the passive, voice’, the boss kept telling me. Always ask an interviewee’s age. Use the British spelling for words like ‘favour’ and ‘programme’ etc.

Besides honing my journalism skills, I improved my Spanish, learned to navigate a foreign culture, and made some truly marvelous friends.

It was the experience of a lifetime, and now that I’m back in snowy New Jersey, I cherish my memories of last summer all the more.

Nina Chausow, New York City

THE original, tongue-in-cheek job description for interning at The Olive Press was, I quote: “Occasionally fanning senior members of staff on particularly hot days… and sharpening the pencils on a Monday morning.” To our dismay, we discovered neither pencils nor fans upon arriving, and realised we would actually be responsible for the work, thought and dedication expected of a reporter.

Working abroad is a much more complicated process for American citizens compared to those fortunate enough to hold an EU passport, the work visa process can be long and arduous. Therefore, coming to the Olive Press as a student offered a unique on-the-spot learning experience that never could have been taught inside a classroom.

My experience working at the Olive Press provided me with the most important skill set I utilized in my following university semester. Enrolled in the University of Granada, I took a class on newspaper translation. Not only did my new knowledge of British spelling keep me out of trouble with my professor, but my understanding of the structure and tone of British news articles really helped me succeed in the class. Furthermore, we actually ended up using an Olive Press article as background for an assignment we did.

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