Summer Centered: Molly Biddle ’20 Makes Headlines
Biddle is interning with the Huntingdon, PA-based newspaper The Huntingdon Daily News this summer.
Though political science major and music minor Molly Biddle ’20 grew up in a family “that has always valued news,” she had never considered a career in journalism before she came to Haverford.
“I realized that I had taken news—local, regional, national, and international—for granted as a child,” she says. “I figured that this summer would be a perfect time to test the waters as a reporter and editor, and I fortunately received the opportunity to do so.”
That opportunity came in the form of an Andrew Silk Summer Journalism Fellowship-sponsored internship with the Huntingdon, PA-based newspaper The Huntingdon Daily News. Though Biddle had written for her high school newspaper, she was surprised by the pressure-cooker conditions of a real-world newsroom, especially when it came to the amount of copy she’d have to churn out in a week.
“I am used to having weeks to consider what I am writing and search for relevant information,” she says. “I now often am given an assignment that will be publicly distributed the very next day.”
Nevertheless, Biddle thinks she’s grown from the experience and has gained a few new skills along the way.
“It has been incredibly challenging at times, but has encouraged me to be extremely thoughtful with my time and with every word or symbol I type,” she says. “I have had to interview people constantly and then accurately represent the information I have gathered in concise language. I have had to propose my own story ideas, which often has stretched my creativity on slower news days.”
Biddle’s workdays typically begin around 7 a.m., when she arrives at the office and immediately sits down to write. Half an hour later, she and the other staff writers meet with their managing editor to discuss the format of that day’s paper.
“At that point, we have until about 10:00 a.m. to finish our stories for that day’s newspaper and check the jumps, photo captions, etc., to make sure that nothing has been overlooked before it is sent to print,” she says.
Another meeting, this time dedicated to story pitches, ensues. And then the cycle starts all over again.
Biddle’s favorite part of the writing process is interviewing locals.
“I always enjoy leaving the office and having the chance to do in-person interviews,” she says. “I also really enjoy interacting with the multiple people involved. News is quote-driven, so it is imperative to collect good quotes in interviews.”
Generally, Biddle’s day ends around 4 p.m., but she’s expected to cover stories over the weekend as well. Though her hours are long, she finds her job extraordinarily rewarding—especially in the current political climate.
“As political culture in the country has grown more and more divisive, I find myself depending upon trustworthy, dedicated news sources to obtain information,” she says. “To work at a local newspaper, especially The Huntingdon Daily News, is an honor.”
“Summer Centered” is a series exploring our students’ Center-funded summer work.