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Front row seat to history: Scripps students intern for U.S. Senator in Washington, DC

Interning in Senator Sherrod Brown’s press office in Washington, DC enhanced key journalism and communications skills, say Ohio University juniors Megan Diehl and Maggie Palma.

“To see the inner workings of a government office is invaluable and has left me more prepared for both journalism and political communications,” said Diehl.

Diehl and Palma completed fall internships in Senator Brown’s office on December 8. They are on track to graduate from the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism in 2025.

Their longstanding interest in news gathering reaches back to working at their high school newspapers in Bexley (Diehl) and Westerville (Palma).

Senator Sherrod Brown poses for a portrait with a college student, both are wearing blazers and smiling
Senator Sherrod Brown poses with Megan Diehl. Photo courtesy of Megan Diehl.

In fall semester 2023, five students from the Scripps College of Communication participated in the Scripps-in-DC program that combines internships, networking, and classroom instruction. Two of these five internships were in Senator Brown’s office near the Capitol at the Hart Senate Office Building.
As interns, Diehl and Palma created content, contacted media to schedule the senator’s regular press updates and pitched ideas. Brown’s office has a robust, year-round internship program that has hosted other Ohio University students. Diehl and Palma said they were integrated into the office routine, including a lunch with Brown’s Chief of Staff Sarah Benzing.

“I never thought I would enjoy political communications,” said Palma, “but now I’m considering it post- graduation. Without the Scripps-in-DC program, I wouldn’t have been able to find my passion for it.”

Senator Sherrod Brown poses for a portrait with a college student; both are wearing blazers and smiling
Senator Sherrod Brown with Maggie Palma. Photo courtesy of Maggie Palma.

Brown’s connection to student media at Ohio University spans decades. In the 1970s, Dan Sewell (BSJ ’77) of The Post interviewed Brown, now 71, as the youngest member of the Ohio Legislature.

Early this year, as Ohio University began celebrating 100 years of journalism instruction, Brown published a tribute to the centennial that mentions internships: “The curriculum extends far outside of the classroom with student newspapers, internship opportunities, and student-run media platforms to ensure that students have the skills necessary to excel after graduation.”

December 19, 2023
Ken Klein