Posted December 3, 2007

Program gives future journalists hands-on training

When journalist and author Juan Williams spoke recently at Temple, he was having a homecoming of sorts.

Williams, formerly of The Washington Post and the author of six books, is currently a senior correspondent for NPR and political analyst for Fox News. In late October, he gave two well-attended lectures: “Eyes on the Prize: The Truths of American Racism” in Paley Library and “Thurgood Marshall: An American Revolutionary” in Anderson Hall.

Williams wasn’t a Temple student, but he spent part of his summer here in 1975. For what was then a three-week editing internship training residency, Williams came to Main Campus prior to going on to the copy desk of the Providence Journal in Rhode Island. At the time, Williams was a junior at Haverford College, located just outside Philadelphia.

Juan Williams
Photo Joseph V. Labolito/Temple University
Juan Williams (left) met with Professor Ed Trayes (center) and Paula Sen (right) after his second talk at Temple on Oct. 22. Sen, a senior journalism major, applied for a Dow Jones Newspaper Fund editing internship for summer 2008, and in late December she will find out if she has been chosen to spend the summer editing a leading newspaper.

Over the years, the Dow Jones Newspaper Fund-sponsored residency program has been especially beneficial for students such as Williams, whose colleges have no journalism program.

This editing intern training program began in 1967 as a pilot program, with Temple and the University of Nebraska offering the first residencies in the summer of 1968. After that first summer, the program continued to operate and grow. Today there are eight such programs across the country, including one that specializes in sports copy editing.

Temple has been the only university involved in the DJNF-sponsored program since its inception, and until Penn State University formed an editing center five years ago, it was the only school in the Northeast to host the training sessions.

Temple Journalism Professor Ed Trayes, director of the Master of Journalism program and head of the photojournalism sequence in the School of Communications and Theater, remembers a college-age Williams as being “quiet, very serious-minded and more than a little interested in journalism.”

For the past 40 summers, Trayes has directed Temple’s Center for Editing Excellence, a program he says is widely known across the country in academe as well as in professional journalism.

In a nationwide competition run by the DJNF each summer, about a dozen college students are selected from among hundreds of applicants to spend two weeks at Temple. They live in the dorms while working day and night to hone their copy editing skills and learn more about journalism and the profession.

Some professionals come to Temple to share their expertise with the students. Among them are William Connolly, retired senior editor of The New York Times; Merrill Perelman, chief of copy editor at the Times; and Jerry Schwartz, features editor of the Associated Press, who, like Juan Williams, is an alumnus of the Temple residency.

After training is complete, Trayes said, participants spend the rest of the summer editing at a daily newspaper or news service, immersed in the craft of editing as well as in the ways of professional journalism. Their internships are paid; and if students go back to school in the fall, they receive a $1,000 scholarship.

Students go off to leading newspapers such as The New York Times (which took four editing interns from Temple last summer), The Wall Street Journal, The Boston Globe, the Newark Star-Ledger, and Newsday, Trayes said. Nationwide, about 90 editing interns are placed each summer through the DJNF editing program.

Each year Trayes chooses the best intern as the Ed Trayes Scholar. This student receives a $1,000 scholarship from a fund that was set up in 2004 by program alum Terry O’Toole in honor of Trayes.

“We are setting up relationships that in many cases last for many years,” said Trayes. He remembers, in addition to Juan Williams, a number of other Temple editing interns from former years as they have careers in journalism as editors, columnists, corporate managers and Pulitzer Prize winners. Alumnus Jerry Schwartz, for example, completed his residency at the Associated Press and began his professional career there.

Trayes, anticipating his 41st summer of DJNF editing residency programs in 2008, remembers many of the students who have come to Temple before going on to their respective internships. And while quite a few continue to keep in touch over the years,” he says, “all of them, like Juan Williams, doubtlessly remember their time at Temple.”

— Written by Nicole Warncke

For the Office of News Communications