KINGSTON, R.I. -- May 14, 2001 -- Shes rubbed shoulders with Katie Couric, interviewed Miss America contestants, and started a newspaper club at a Pawtucket elementary school.
Katie Haughey of Newfield, N.J., who is just completing her junior year at the University of Rhode Island, has the scoop on what it takes to become a journalist.
To acknowledge her efforts, the Rhode Island Press Association has awarded Haughey its $1,000 scholarship. The competitive award is given annually to one student who intends to go into print journalism. The award is based on the students background, experience, and a recommendation from the faculty. Haughey is the second URI student in two years to win.
The money will go toward her tuition. "It will help," says the journalism and political science double major who pays out-of-state tuition shes from Newfield, New Jersey and doesnt receive any financial aid.
Haughey began her career in a traditional way. She was editor of her high school newspaper. She has written for the URI student newspaper, The Good Five ¢ Cigar , for the past three years.
Last summer, she interned at NBC 10 in Philadelphia. The timing was perfect. Haughey covered the Republican Convention which was being held in the City of Brotherly Love. There she met Katie Couric and Tom Brokaw. "As impressive as that was," she says, "I really dont want to be a broadcast journalist."
Two summers ago, Haughey interned at The Press of Atlantic City. Each week she wrote the main feature in the teen section called "Generation Next." She also interviewed Miss America contestants, calling them "beauty queens" in her article. She quickly learned from contest officials that "scholarship pageant winners" was the proper terminology.
Her experience writing for the college newspaper has helped her focus on what she likes best writing about issues. Shes proudest of her article on the potential dangers of the drug Ecstasy. She got the idea from a Time magazine cover story that mentioned that some dealers, to stretch the amount of the drug and fill their pockets, were adding rat poison. "I started imagining how many people dont know about this," said the future Katherine Graham.
Haughey interviewed students, URI police, workshop presenters, toxicologists, and people at the regional poison control center for the article.
"I got a lot of feedback from students and administrators. I felt I was really reaching people," she says.
In addition to writing, Haughey has also served as a mentor at Peace Dale Elementary School. She also started a newspaper club for fourth and fifth graders at the Cunningham Elementary School in Pawtucket, teaching them how to write for newspapers. She has compiled their best work and is putting it into a newsletter format.
Haughey would love to write for the Philadelphia Inquirer when she graduates next year. However, she says realistically shell probably have to start at a small newspaper and work her way up. "Ill go anywhere but hope to ultimately end up on the East Coast."
Linda L. Levin, her journalism professor, said, "Katie is an ace young journalist. She sniffs out a good story and tracks it down like a bloodhound. Then she writes a piece that draws the readers in and keeps them reading right to the end.
For Information: Jan Sawyer, 874-2116