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The Internship Diaries, Part 2: Embrace the Blank Page

open laptop with blank screen, plant and cup of tea next to it
Photo/Marcin Skalij for Unsplash

Journalism major Isa Luzarraga ’25, a School of Communication student writer last academic year, is interning this summer at The Kansas City Star through the Dow Jones News Fund’s internship program, and writing about her experience. This is the second in the series; read Part I.

A blinking cursor. 

Even after writing countless articles and essays, sometimes those few pixels are all that exist on your screen. A blank page is often synonymous with new beginnings, a chance to reroute and reflect. Yet, if you are any type of writer, an empty Google Doc can easily become the most infuriating aspect of your day.

Since beginning my internship at The Kansas City Star, I have routinely been at a computer from 9:00 am-5:00 pm, tasked with writing copy or designing social media posts. With 40 hours in a work week, I have begun to appreciate the freedom of a blank page.

Let me explain. The newsroom moves at a rapid pace: headlines need checking, breaking news is hurriedly typed into the content management system, etc. But there is more downtime throughout the day than I initially expected—both for interns and full-time staff members. 

While we may often wish for a full news day, there is nothing wrong with catching your breath during a slow shift. I believe that too often, in journalism and in life, we feel compelled to complete tasks as quickly as possible. Newspapers strive to be the first ones to break the news, occasionally sacrificing accuracy for speed. This same principle can be applied to other experiences. 

Isa takes notes at an office desk
Isa Luzarraga ’25. Courtesy photo

Maybe ambition propels you to take extra courses and graduate a semester or two early. A laudable effort, but as clichéd as it sounds, I understand now more than ever the importance of balancing between quality and quantity, speed and accuracy, hustle and rest. 

Yes, I want to create work worthy of a place in my larger portfolio. Yes, I want to help my team and newsroom publish the best content possible. To achieve this doesn’t mean that I always have to have a page full of ideas or suggestions. 

In fact, when I take a moment to set aside my notepad to just listen to other editors and reporters, my thought process is streamlined. I immediately become more in tune with the newsroom’s workflow. 

I had taught myself to despise the absence of ideas in my brain and on the page, when I should have seen that as an opportunity to learn instead of do. (I should clarify that I have by no means perfected this balance).

Still, now that I am halfway through my internship, I do believe putting this idea into practice has given me a more valuable experience.

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Isabella Luzarraga View All

Isa is a senior journalism major minoring in media studies. She is from Omaha, Nebraska but loves coming back to the city. Outside of coursework, Isa is the Managing Editor of Your Magazine, the secretary of Emerson's chapter of NAHJ and a freelance writer for publications nationwide. She loves reading in the Common, going for long runs and sipping iced coffee.