Today the editorial team of Cayman Free Press says good-bye to its two summer interns.
They come from vastly different backgrounds, but share a Caymanian heritage and a love of the printed word.
‘It has been a genuine pleasure to have Hannah and Matthew with us this summer,’ said Cayman Free Press and Caymanian Compass Editor Tammie C. Chisholm.
‘We believe it is so vital for businesses to take interest in our young Caymanians and afford them opportunities to work, learn and eventually grow into jobs here at home.’
Regular readers of our sports pages are no doubt familiar with Matthew Yates’ byline.
Cayman Free Press and the newsroom, in particular, like to think of the husky 21-year-old as homegrown talent.
The University of Tampa communications major graduates this December, and intends to join the editorial team as a full-time journalist afterwards.
He first aspired to a career in print journalism following a stint as a cub reporter for the Compass Junior and later Cay-Young.
‘I was at John Gray High School at the time,’ Matthew recalls. ‘That’s when my interest developed into being a journalist for the long haul.’
With that ‘invaluable experience,’ behind him, it was a no-brainer where Matthew would turn for summer internships while at the University College of the Cayman Islands.
‘My first placement with the Caymanian Compass was four years ago during my Associate degree in Social Studies. The experience was so positive both in terms of my personal growth and the newsroom staff.’
From there he was able to secure regular holiday placements with the Compass. It wasn’t long before the company felt able to offer Matthew financial support to study overseas, part of its continuing commitment to support the professional development of young Caymanians seeking careers in journalism.
‘Matthew is the latest journalism intern we’ve been able to give financial assistance to,’ said CFP Publisher Brian Uzzell.
‘In the past we’ve assisted at least six would-be reporters with long-term sponsorship to enter full-time paid journalism with the Compass.’
This latest internship is Matthew’s fourth stint in the bustling newsroom.
‘Each time I return I’m given more challenging assignments and I can see that my writing, as a result, has become more professional and polished.
‘I feel I’ve more credibility in the community because I’ve been working here long enough. I understand the system and people can see and therefore trust in my abilities and my stories.’
The internships have also helped Matthew during his studies.
‘In college its all well and good learning the theory and the process but it’s the internships that have given me the chance to cement everything I’ve learned in the classroom.’
With each placement the West Bayer has grown in his ability. His latest stint in the newsroom is best reflected by his well-received opinion pieces and articles on Michael Vick, the Island Games and the current need for a Jet Ski association.
‘I will always be grateful for Cayman Free Press keeping the door open for me.’
The other intern is 15-year-old Hannah Reid. The former Cayman Prep student is in her graduating year at Havergal College in Toronto.
The bubbly teenager is passionate about the environment and is already looking towards a future where she can write about real issues.
She described her month-long internship as an ‘amazingly worthwhile experience.’
‘I’m interested in one day having a career in journalism and have always read the Compass at home. So when it came to trying to get an internship I knew exactly where to look.’
Hannah was clear about what she would be taking with her from her spell at the newspaper. ‘It’s been a huge learning curve. I’ve learnt a lot about different styles of reporting, working to deadlines and taking effective photographs.
‘I particularly enjoyed going out into the field, working up my stories and gaining first-hand experience about investigative journalism and different interview techniques.
‘The best part was when three of the journalists took me out on assignments. It was all a real eye-opener.’
And what had she found particularly challenging?
‘I was never confident over the phone and so this experience has been very positive for me. It was all so new and strange at first.’