By Hannah Frisch, Molly Horak and Arianna Moore
This summer, three student interns are bringing their perspectives to Mountain Xpress. Week in and week out, the interns operate as part of the team, writing content for the website and newspaper, attending Tuesday news meetings and narrowly skirting Friday office cleaning sessions. Each focuses on a different aspect of the Western North Carolina community, spanning the areas of politics, history, food and news. Through their internships, the interns are gaining confidence in interviewing, writing, working under tight deadlines and blocking out the constant hubbub of buskers and fire truck sirens blaring through downtown Asheville.
Arianna Moore is a rising senior at Asheville High School. She wants to study political science and public administration and hopes for a career as a policymaker. Arianna’s internship is through the City of Asheville Youth Leadership Academy, a year-long program that includes skill-building workshops, community service and a summer internship. This is her second and final year in the CAYLA program, and she credits program director Erika Germer for offering mentorship and other benefits through CAYLA. Through this summer’s internship with Xpress, Arianna hopes to better her community networking skills and learn about the press from a behind-the-scenes perspective. Her favorite experience so far was attending the YMCA Youth and Government Conference on National Affairs in Black Mountain. Outside of the internship, Arianna likes dinners at Farm Burger, hiking Max Patch and playing clarinet in the Asheville High marching band. She also went to camp earlier this summer in Pennsylvania. Arianna is currently working on a piece on a college bus tour for minority students before she returns for her senior year in the fall. “I am so thankful for this opportunity to witness the environment that the Xpress, a key part of Asheville’s culture, is created in,” she says. “The staff are all friendly, fun, talented and unique. Great representatives of the characteristics we all associate with the city we love.”
Hannah Frisch is a rising junior at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, majoring in American studies. She hopes to pursue a career in either historic preservation or museum curation. As the Mountain Xpress history intern, Frisch spends the majority of her work time working on Tuesday History posts. She has researched racial integration in Asheville from the 1920s onward, focusing on the YWCA archives and UNC Asheville Special Collections. Coming into the internship, Frisch says, she wanted to gain more research experience, participate in a new form and style of writing and use history in a more current and accessible way. While interning, she has had the opportunity to learn more about her hometown history by reading newspaper articles from across the decades and conducting interviews with Asheville natives. Frisch says, “I loved getting the chance to listen to the stories of people in Asheville and learn more about the city’s history.” A highlight of her experience so far has been interviewing a woman who attended school before the schools were integrated in Western North Carolina. Frisch has also enjoyed her weekly trips to the UNC Asheville Special Collections to explore their archives. In her somewhat rare free time, Frisch works as a hostess at Bellagio while spending time with her friends, taking weekend road trips and eating at her favorite Asheville restaurants.
Molly Horak is a rising sophomore at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She is majoring in journalism and political science. Horak spends her internship writing across different desks with a focus on food and news. She hopes to better her research and reporting skills, build her journalistic profile and get real-life experience in the field she loves through this summer opportunity. As an Asheville native, she enjoys frequenting local spots such as White Duck Taco and taste-testing every coffee shop in Asheville, going on long trail runs and hiking on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Along with writing at least two stories a week for Xpress, she hosts at Pack’s Tavern and likes to take spontaneous weekend road trips. By working at a paper so deeply rooted in Asheville’s cultural scene, Horak’s become more attuned to the issues the city is facing and the ways in which locals and tourists alike are changing the direction of our picturesque mountain town. At Chapel Hill, Horak works as an assistant editor for the college’s daily newspaper, an experience that is vastly different from working at Xpress, she says. “Working for a daily paper, our deadlines are so short that we don’t have time to do as much investigative work and in-depth reporting,” Horak explains. “By working at a weekly paper, I love being able to write more long-form articles and taking the time to get to the heart of the matter.” So far, she has enjoyed meeting with the inspirational speakers at the Western Women’s Business Conference and writing deeply investigative pieces such as her food prison story “Beyond Bread and Water.” Looking toward the future, Horak hopes to pursue a career in reporting, writing for a large news publication.
Editor’s note: Xpress is fortunate indeed in our current crop of interns. They contribute solid research and reporting, as well as opening a window onto their insights as members of the millenial generation. We hope their experiences here will benefit each of them as they move forward into promising futures.