BenitoLink brings on five interns for the summer

Talented newcomers help to deepen our coverage.
Fernando Gonzalez
Fernando Gonzalez

BenitoLink is excited to introduce its summer 2019 interns: Fernando Gonzalez, Heather Graham, Diana Lopez, Melissa Melton and Francisco Romero.

We have grown the internship program from two in 2018 to five in 2019. Internship areas include reporting, photography, graphic design, marketing and web development. The program is funded partially by the United Way of San Benito County, the Monterey Peninsula Foundation and the Emma Bowen Foundation.

Gonzalez, a Gilroy native and Gavilan College graduate, assists with graphic design, be it ad creation and marketing materials or using data to create visuals for an article. He said he joined BenitoLink because he wanted to develop his skills in digital media and “contribute to providing a valuable service to the community.” 

“I hope to practice visual communication by creating graphics for stories and other features,” Gonzalez said. 

Graham, a Hollister resident and Gavilan College student, reports on a variety of topics for BenitoLink including local government meetings and community issues.

“What’s great about BenitoLink is that not only is it a local nonprofit news source—that’s by the people for the people—it also has an opinion section open to the community,” Graham said. “I have been reading BenitoLink since I moved to Hollister back in 2013. I secretly wanted to be a reporter and photographer on a freelance basis, but wasn’t sure how to make it happen.

“Last summer,” she continued, “I wrote an opinion piece and kind of touched a nerve—part of me meant to, and part of me didn’t because I hate confrontation. I had to take a step back and think about who I am as a writer and what I want to do with my voice. This past spring semester at Gavilan—I’m an English major—I started thinking about internships. I knew I wanted to write and take pictures, so I reached out and asked about an internship.”

Lopez, a sophomore at San Benito High School, was previously part of BenitoLink’s Junior Journalism program. As a junior journalist she covered topics ranging from high school life to government. For her internship, Lopez will be taking on bigger stories including investigative reports.

“I hope to develop writing skills as well as questioning skills only journalism can teach me,” Lopez said. “I do hope to become a psychologist one day and I understand that in order to do so I need to know how to articulate my words as well as other people’s words. I also need to know how to properly ask people questions since psychology is all about questioning people and their actions.”

Melton, a Hollister native and business administration major at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, assists with digital marketing and reporting on business and economic development. 

“Given that I was raised in San Benito County, I thought working at BenitoLink would be the perfect way to get more involved with my community,” Melton said. “I think now is an especially great time to have this opportunity, as San Benito County is growing rapidly. I am excited to build more relationships with the amazing people in the community. I believe my experiences at BenitoLink will help me blossom as a business student.”

Romero, a Hollister native and senior at San Jose State University, comes to us through the Emma Bowen Foundation, which, according to its website, “recruits promising students of color and places them in multi-year paid internships at some of the nation’s leading media, PR, and technology companies.” He is assisting BenitoLink with web development. 

“Being able to intern in the community that I was born and raised in has been a great and rewarding experience for me,” Romero said. “I hope to be able to take the skills I have learned here and apply them to my career going forward.”

BenitoLink hires and takes interns year-round. If you’d like more information or are interested in reporting, taking photos, and creating graphics, send your resume to Lois Locci at loislocci@benitolink.com.

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Laura Romero

Laura Romero has been a reporter and handled marketing/social media for BenitoLink. She has covered education and city government. Formerly, she worked as an assistant account executive at Pembroke PR in San Francisco, where she assisted with press outreach, event coordination, and social media planning. With her PR skills, she has helped to implement social media strategies and develop online giving campaigns for BenitoLink. Laura continues to contribute to BenitoLink on a freelance basis.