December 22, 2015

Student earns prestigious journalism internship

by Pete Rosenbery

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Tia Rinehart, a junior in Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s Radio, Television, and Digital Media program, is one of five students in the nation chosen for the spring 2016 session of Scripps Howard Foundation Semester in Washington Program. 

Rinehart will spend three months just blocks from the White House in Washington, D.C., honing her journalism skills. She begins the 14-week program Jan. 7. Rinehart, the daughter of Cara and Tim Rinehart of Louisville, has experience with the River Region Evening Edition news program and the Daily Egyptian newspaper at the university. 

“I am extremely honored for the opportunity because I realize what this can do for my career and how it will help me grow,” Rinehart said. “I hope to make a lot of connections, put together a lot of stories and most importantly expand my knowledge of journalism.” 

Rinehart, 20, has worked with River Region, a student-produced local newscast that airs on WSIU-TV, since the start of her sophomore year. She was also a reporter for the Daily Egyptian during the spring semester of her freshman year. 

Rinehart has an interest in political reporting. It was while serving as an intern this past summer at WSIL-TV, the ABC affiliate in Southern Illinois, Rinehart learned of the program through Anna Giles, one of the station’s reporters. Rinehart said Giles, who also attended the Scripps program while a student at Syracuse University encouraged her to apply, but Rinehart still thought it a “long shot” due to the few applicants selected. Rinehart changed her mind this fall when an adviser in the College of Mass Communication and Media Arts also encouraged her to submit an application. 

Students receive a stipend and live in furnished apartments, according to the organization’s website. While in Washington, they will work for the Scripps Howard Foundation Wire, which is in the Scripps Washington Bureau. 

Rinehart will graduate in May 2017 and said her goal is to find a reporting job “right out of school.” 

“I understand how much work that requires in order to make it happen, which is another reason why I am so grateful for this opportunity,” she said. 

Rinehart said she also works as a group fitness instructor and fitness program assistant at the university’s Student Recreation Center.

"Tia is one of those students who is unstoppable.  She's determined to excel at everything she does,” Greg Todd, River Region Evening Edition news director, said. “This is a tremendous honor and opportunity for Tia.  In addition to getting a quality education at SIU, she's worked very hard to learn the important hands-on part of being a news professional by working with River Region Evening Edition and the Daily Egyptian.”

Todd said he is proud “that such a prestigious organization recognizes SIU continues to be one of the nation's best sources for high-potential news media professionals.”