Follow South Jersey Internship Provides Opportunities for Aspiring Journalists

By: Michael Mandarino, Follow South Jersey Assignment Editor

Photo: Jon Bradley | Follow South Jersey

BRIDGETON, N.J. — If you’ve logged onto Follow South Jersey in the buildup to today’s marketing launch today, you’ve probably read the reporting of our four student interns.

Carly Truett, Arianna Adan, Jaina Louise Winston, and David J. Detweiler all completed a 10-week news internship that was made possible by a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation through the New Jersey Health Initiatives program. This grant has empowered our interns to report on hyper-local stories pertinent to the South Jersey community, and they’ve produced a wide variety of stories in their different roles. The internship has taken place in an entirely-remote setting, but all of the interns have made the necessary adjustments to these unusual circumstances.

Truett, a graduate student at the University of Michigan’s School of Public Health, has covered health-related stories throughout the summer. Whether it was chronicling New Jersey’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, opioid laws brought before the United States’ House of Representatives, or chronicling local fitness centers’ adjustments during the pandemic, Truett added a diverse range of stories to her portfolio throughout the summer.

Elsewhere, Winston is an undergrad at Penn State University who covered a range of different community services throughout the summer. She reported on broader stories such as New Jersey Department of Motor Vehicles’ adjustments to the coronavirus pandemic, but her stories also had a local twist — as evidenced by her reporting on Bridgeton’s summer concert series and Potter’s Tavern in downtown Bridgeton, among other stories.

“I learned that articles should be written by always keeping the audience in mind,” Winston said of her experience during the summer. “After all, you are writing for your readers.”

Adan is a journalism student at Rowan University, and she spent the summer as Follow South Jersey’s higher education intern. As you might expect, Adan’s reporting focused on all the latest news and happenings at Rowan College of South Jersey. She covered the community college’s tuition freeze, its plans for the fall semester, and even the fourth annual “Suit a Student” career readiness fashion show, among others.

“From beginning to end, [the internship] has been an amazing learning experience,” Adan said. “From a professional group of people who gave me constructive criticism and overwhelming support, I can’t say enough good things about the people who work for Follow South Jersey. It’s a great work environment.”

Detweiler, who splits his time between being Follow South Jersey’s child welfare intern and an overnight shift with Amazon, has perhaps the widest variety of reporting in his portfolio out of this group of interns. He’s covered stories about lifeguard service in Wildwood, Bridgeton Public Schools’ reopening plan, and Sunset Lake’s plans to reopen, among other stories.

All of the summer interns showed immense improvement in their reporting throughout the summer, and they’ve accepted offers to continue writing for Follow South Jersey throughout the fall semester. You’ll still get to check out their reporting for the next 10 weeks.

New Jersey Health Initiatives is the statewide grantmaking program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Established in 1987 in honor of the New Jersey philanthropic legacy of RWJF’s founder, Robert Wood Johnson, NJHI supports innovations and drives conversations to build healthier communities through grantmaking across the State of New Jersey. To meet the many health needs of our state’s diverse populations, regions and communities, the NJHI program encourages collaboration across sectors to foster deep relationships committed to long-term change affording all New Jerseyans the opportunity to live the healthiest life possible.

Follow South Jersey provides local journalism which highlights our diverse communities; fosters transparency through robust, localized, and vital reporting that holds leaders and institutions accountable; addresses critical information needs; supports people in navigating civic life; and equips people with the information necessary to partake in effective community engagement. If there is a story or event you think we should cover, please send your tips to with “NEWS” in the subject line.