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The Echo
Taylor University, Upland, IN
Tuesday, April 16, 2024
The Echo
Sam Mauer, junior MMJ statehouse reporter.jpg

Multimedia journalism student writes for The Statehouse File

Taylor reporter writes legislative news stories

This article, originally appearing March 5, 2023 through Taylor’s Marketing department, is republished here with permission.

Senior multimedia journalism major Sam Maurer wrote legislative news stories covering the Indiana General Assembly for The Statehouse File in Indianapolis this January. His stories were published in daily newspapers across Indiana and on The Statehouse File website.

Alongside other students, colleagues, and a faculty advisor/editor, Maurer found a constructive introduction to political writing.

In one of his journalism classes at Taylor, Maurer was assigned to write a paper about the journalism industry, which got him connected with Russ Pulliam, columnist for the Indianapolis Star, director of the Pulliam Fellowship and adjunct professor of journalism. 

Pulliam suggested Maurer look into The Statehouse File. Maurer later met the executive editor, Colleen Steffen, at a conference. Steffen told Maurer to reach out to her if he was interested in the internship program.

Though Maurer is a Taylor student, the internship is offered through the journalism program at Franklin College. Maurer was accepted for the internship after applying to be a non-degree-seeking student at Franklin for January.

Maurer’s typical day in the program began with a meeting in the morning and discussions about the day’s plans with his colleagues. Maurer would receive his story assignments, attend meetings or sessions of the Indiana General Assembly, and reach out to people for interviews. At the end of the day, all the interns returned to the office, wrote their story assignments, received edits, and ensured the pieces were ready for publication.

The typical topic of Maurer’s news stories was bill analysis.

“I didn't have a ton of political writing experience,” Maurer said. “But I had a lot of news writing or feature writing experience, so I caught on pretty quickly how to do it.”

At first, he didn’t know if political writing would be the best fit for him, but he found his mindset changed after the opportunity.

“Going into it, I went in with the mindset that it's a really good experience, but I didn’t want to end up in politics,” Maurer said. “I still don't know if I want to, but I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it. It let me see some doors that I could take.”

Maurer found that the internship grew him in his persistence. It was difficult to get responses from the people he was trying to interview, but he found that being persistent in reaching out paid off. He also became bolder in walking up to people like representatives in the Indiana Statehouse to ask them questions.

“I would recommend the program,” Maurer said. “It was really good experience, and you're working with other college students. You're working with people your own age who are also learning.”

Maurer found the internship to be a beneficial addition to the journalistic experience he’s received through Taylor’s Multimedia Journalism program. One of the key experiences he has received is being a staff writer for Taylor’s student newspaper, The Echo.

“Working on The Echo helped me figure out AP Style and news writing,” he said. “It made it really easy to transition to another newspaper or magazine. It definitely helps you understand how the process works.”

He found that the experiences Taylor readied him for this internship and his previous internship with a local newspaper over the summer.

“Taylor’s journalism program does a really good job teaching the basics step by step,” Maurer said. “During my first internship, I was like, ‘I know how to do this already. I can write a story and not worry about it not being completed.’”

While at Taylor, Maurer has not only gotten practical experience for his career but also has taken the opportunity to connect with other students through discipleship. For two years, he has been a discipleship assistant to build and sustain a healthy Christian community on his floor. This past year, he also led a preceptorial group, providing continuing peer support for first-year students as they transition to Taylor.

Taylor’s multimedia journalism major equips students to report with integrity, get on- and off-campus journalistic experience and craft messages with consumer insight, Christian ethics and passion. 

For more information about the degree program and professional media internship opportunities, contact Dr. Alan Blanchard, associate professor of journalism, at alan_blanchard@taylor.edu or 765-998-5572.