The 2020 American City Business Journals-Dow Jones News Fund business reporting interns mounted a multi-city project focusing on Black and minority-owned businesses from June to August.

Ten talented students worked for 10 of ACBJ’s 44 publications filing more than 250 articles including several cover features, all written and reported remotely, in a pandemic, during a national social crisis.

“It truly was an extraordinary effort on the part of each of our 2020 ACBJ-DJNF business reporting interns, who all persevered in a remote journalism space,” said Garry D. Howard, ACBJ director of corporate initiatives, a DJNF alumnus and board member.

“The goal was to specifically cover the underserved Black and minority-owned business community during COVID-19. But then on May 25, George Floyd was murdered in Minneapolis at the hands of the police, resulting in righteous protests in over 500 cities across this country.”

“Needless to say, the urgency of our task was palpable. After just five business days, the ACBJ-DJNF interns showed our readers their mettle,” said Howard.

Highlights from the summer:

  • Andy Blye, an Arizona State University graduate student and intern at the Phoenix Business Journal, filed the most stories this summer, including July 24 when he had three bylines on the cover.
  • Iain Carlos, a St. Olaf College graduate, wrote for the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal about the damage to minority-owned businesses following protests and riots in Minneapolis.
  • Casey Darnell profiled 25 minority business leaders for the Philadelphia Business Journal before returning to Syracuse University for his senior year as editor-in-chief of The Daily Orange
  • University of Virginia rising senior Norah Mulinda filed 30 stories for the Washington Business Journal, including several on the economic toll of the pandemic on Black-owned businesses and their employees. Emily Van Zandt, special project editor, tweeted: “@norahmulinda approached her work this summer with passion, curiosity and focus — give her a follow and in 2021, give her a job!”
  • Doug Banks, Boston Business Journal executive editor, said Shafaq Patel from Emerson College, was the first DJNF-ACBJ intern to land a byline, and on her first day.

Howard oversaw the program from start to finish. He led recruitment at the 2019 National Association of Black Journalists convention, lined up seasoned Black business journalists like Glenn Burkins as speakers and his colleagues to teach the “ACBJ Way.” He employed writer and editor Robin Washington to serve as a writing coach for the interns.

Professor Paul Glader, director of The McCandlish Phillips Journalism Institute at The King’s College and a former Wall Street Journal reporter, directed the virtual pre-internship program. He incorporated his virtual teaching experience into the 2020 program with ease.

“ACBJ stood strong with Dow Jones News Fund to make sure that the talented, hand-picked interns could have an opportunity to produce some major content,” said Howard. “And what they have proved, collectively, is that DJNF interns are truly exceptional.”

The ACBJ-DJNF Class of 2020 includes: Spencer Brewer, University of Texas at Arlington, Dallas Business Journal; Maria Monteros, Trevecca Nazarene University, Nashville Business Journal; Colleen Neely, University of Maryland, Baltimore Business Journal; Nat Rubio-Licht, Syracuse University, Puget Sound Business Journal; and Taylor Washington, University of South Carolina, Charlotte Business Journal.