Cincinnati Public Radio Launches Internship Program Through Democracy & Me

“I love history, and I’m interested in radio/podcasting. Democracy & Me provides the best of those worlds.”

“I hope to learn about presenting information to the public and how to go about doing investigative research.”

“I’m an international student. I want to hear others’ opinions and perspectives, to see how different or similar they are from me… I want to do something more with my voice and confidence.”

These are a few of the young voices you’ll hear this fall at Cincinnati Public Radio, through the new Democracy & Me student internship program. With support from the Charles H. Dater Foundation, and under the leadership of educational outreach coordinator Julie Coppens, we’re providing paid, part-time positions for ten area students from communities historically underrepresented in public media.

Our inaugural class:

  • Nailah Edwards, University of Cincinnati (Communications/Journalism)
  • Jordan Polk, University of Cincinnati (Communications/Professional Writing and Rhetoric)
  • Alex Bentley,University of Cincinnati (Transitions and Accessibility Program)
  • Anne Stevenson, University of Cincinnati (Transitions and Accessibility Program)
  • Keshawn Townsend, Aiken H.S.
  • Jean Pateman, Talawanda H.S.
  • Nico Luginbill, Walnut Hills H.S.
  • Jordan Shaw, Cincinnati School for Creative and Performing Arts
  • Joyeuse Muhorakaye, Aiken H.S.
  • Juanisha Gray, Dater H.S.

The interns are working collaboratively and mostly remotely, due to the pandemic, producing youth-centered content for the Democracy & Me e-newsletter and website, the Democracy & Z podcast and YouTube channel, a new Instagram account and other media platforms, with some crossover to our NPR-member station, 91.7 WVXU. In addition to Coppens’s mentorship, the students are receiving instruction and career guidance from CPR staff members across several departments, from Dr. David Childs at NKU, and from media leaders in the wider community.

“I hope one day that I, and my work, evolve to the point of being able to change the world,” writes University of Cincinnati senior Jordan Polk. “I am thrilled that Cincinnati Public Radio is the next step in my journey.”

“This is such a good thing for me. It will help me achieve my goals long-term,” adds Dater H.S. student Juanisha Gray. “With this internship and the people around me, it will better my life skills, and help me get places I never thought I could go.”

You can hear several of the interns in recent episodes of our Democracy & Z podcast, sharing their insights on self-identity, the animated TV series Avatar: The Last Airbender, and the film career and global impact of late actor Chadwick Boseman. An upcoming episode will address the wildfires out west and their relationship to climate change; other interns are developing digital storytelling around the 2020 Census and, of course, the election.

“Cincinnati Public Radio is excited to welcome such talented students to our Democracy and Me internship program,” says Chris Phelps, Vice President for Content. “This inaugural class will be working on a variety of platforms to tell the stories of their peers in this unprecedented time. We look forward to working with and learning from their experiences this fall.”