Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Internship Spotlight: Michelle Di Cintio

Alternative Experience

I thought about writing this blog while lying in the hammock in the boardroom. A bit unconventional for an office, but Alternatives Journal is a bit of an unconventional workplace. As the oldest Canadian environmental magazine, the purpose of the magazine is to provide accurate environmental news stories covering political, societal and technological issues - and solutions. Their goal is to "deliver reliable, future focused environmental journalism, support environmental education in Canada, and help build the Canadian environmental movement." Across the street from city hall in Kitchener, the office sits on the second floor of a building that used to be a bank - the journal's archive is housed in the steel vault in the office. It's a small operation, with less than 10 people occupying the office. They are supported by volunteers, interns, and freelancers. 
Alternatives is generous when it comes to their interns. As the editorial intern, I performed a variety of tasks that took into account my Science Communication degree. Fact-checking  is rigorous for all stories - is the information coming from reputable source, is the science being accurately depicted, are the author's conclusions viable based on the information presented? It can be challenging, but it's never dull. I wrote short pieces for print, and blog pieces for their website. I interviewed environmentalists, reviewed books and films, and went to events to report on the proceedings. The experience was well rounded not just in terms of my responsibilities, but in the way I got to experience all of the different aspects that go into publishing a journal.
I think the most rewarding aspect at Alternatives Journal was that it allowed me to watch science communication in action, and to participate in that action. Science communication isn't about collecting and reeling off facts, it's about inspiring action, and providing necessary information in order to make informed action. At Alternatives Journal, keeping people informed and aware of environmental news is just one part of creating an effective environmental movement. I am grateful to have been a part of their movement for a time, and hope to use what I learnt to the best of my ability.

-Michelle Di Cintio, SciComm '14

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