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© 2019, all rights reserved. For more information, visit the American Society of Magazine Editors.

Read Her Work:

Claire Wolters

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I love stories. 

 

I love looking for stories, and listening to stories, and (in some cases), chasing after them. And I love telling these stories. 

 

There’s a sort of thrill that comes along with cold-calling prestigious lawyers or tracking down former Olympic athletes. And there’s a sort of satisfaction in mashing up all these characters and viewpoints into 600-1500 words of text and sending it off to be published.

 

In my internship with National Geographic, I was fortunate enough to learn from reporters, editors, and explorers who travel across the globe to tell stories. I was fortunate enough to tell a few stories of my own, too (Hint: the people mentioned above fit into one of them).

 

At National Geographic, I reported stories about cultural activities in Catalonia and Taiwan, social media trends across Asia, national holidays, natural disasters, women’s soccer, and more. I worked with text and photo editors on the culture and history desk, who assigned me stories and gave me opportunities to pitch ideas of my own.

 

Having previously reported for newspapers like The Temple News, The Philadelphia Inquirer, and a start-up newspaper called Kensington Voice, my internship with National Geographic was my first real-world exposure to magazine journalism. The experience challenged me to reframe my approach to stories. To run in the magazine, a story couldn’t just be fascinating. It had to be fascinating, and timely, and on-brand, and attractive to a global audience. 

 

I’ll admit, I spent more than a few mornings with my head in my hands, doubting I had the qualifications to write for this publication. But picking up any pitch (or phone-call) that came my way, even when I didn’t feel qualified, was the best decision I made all summer. 

 

I sometimes joke that my reporting style revolves around the motto, ‘fake it ‘til you make it,’ but my time at National Geographic taught me to rethink this statement. There’s nothing ‘fake’ in pursuing good storytelling. In many ways, the silly questions are the most important to ask. And random phone calls can add enhance the quality of reporting.

 

My summer with ASME and National Geographic was new and exciting. I’m so thankful for everyone—editors, friends, smiling faces in the newsroom—who mentored me along the way.

 

For now, I’m headed back to Philly to finish my journalism degree at Temple University. When I’m not reporting, you might run into me (literally) on the Schuylkill trail or doing free yoga by the waterfront. I’m always on the hunt for good deals, fruity drinks, and fresh air. 

 

As to what stories I’ll tell next, who knows! I can’t wait to find them.