journalism Yeji Lee

The Pavlovic Today’s White House News Desk intern, Yeji Lee, shares her insights on the future of journalism and how working with The Pavlovic Today prepared her for studying at the prestigious Columbia School of Journalism.

How did you first get involved with The Pavlovic Today?

The Pavlovic Today had posted something up on the UoT job portal online. They stated they were looking for different people to write about politics, who were multilingual, and knew about multiple different cultures, and could write from different perspectives. That caught my attention and I decided to apply.

How is The Pavlovic Today different than other publications?

I was never very interested in school publications because I think there’s something to be said about reaching beyond your school, and writing about things people wouldn’t typically look for. I was also looking for something that could potentially become a full-time career in my future, not just something I do on the side.

Have you always been interested in journalism?

It was something I was always interested in. I studied English Literature in my undergraduate, because I loved it. I got into journalism through my year abroad, almost by chance. I’d signed up for an essay competition, won, and the prize was an internship at a magazine, and I really liked my experience. I grew up back and forth in Korea and Canada my whole life. I’d always thought of my bilingualism and multiculturalism as more of a con than a pro, because I’d always thought it’d be harder to be a native English speaker since I spoke another language. I never really felt like I could fit in anywhere.

In journalism, all these things were very beneficial to me. All the things I thought were negative in my life, turned out to be very positive in my career.

What made you interested in working in the White House area?

I’d initially thought my work with the Pavlovic Today would be more of an op-ed position about the Asian-Pacific. Of course, later when Trump went on his trip to Asia, much of my work was focused on Asia-Pacific when Trump went on Asia. I very much enjoyed it, because there was a lot happening every single day. I learned a lot through the process.

What did you learn at the WH News Desk?

Before working with The Pavlovic Today, I’d written a lot of lifestyle and general opinion pieces. I never really learned how to write a political article. The formatting, and what I should and shouldn’t include in the article, and all the intricacies of political writing – all the pieces that you would never learn by yourself. Ksenija really guided me, into what I should and shouldn’t be doing with the information available to write the articles.

What do you think of the future of the news, particularly independent media, in Trump’s America?

I think I’ve been having this conversation with a lot of different over the past year. With the rising different mediums in which news is given to people, it’s clear that a lot is changing. I personally think that as different news forms develop, people are going to want more independent news sources. With new websites, programs, and mediums, there are more opportunities for people to support these independent sources.

People can choose what they want to support, invest their time and money into the causes and publications they believe in. I think independent media is going to get bigger and people are going to value it increasingly.

I do think there’s still going to be a role for big media too, resource-wise. There is a different place for independent media. Whether or not that gets bigger or smaller over the next few years, I don’t know, but I think people are going to appreciate smaller news sources more. A lot of people have been very pessimistic about the future of the news, but if you look at the statistics, the number of subscribers for all the big news sources have shot up drastically. There is always going to be a growing number of people that want to know what is going on in the world and invest their time and money to get the truth. So, the future of news and media, I’m hopeful for it. I don’t think it’ll ever become obsolete.

How do you think interning for the Pavlovic Today has prepared you for journalism school and a career in journalism?

First of all, it showed me what I wanted to write about. In the previous places where I’d worked, I had a lot of flexibility, but no one really pushed me to develop in a specific field. With The Pavlovic Today, it was very specific and guided. It helped me get into one specific area and gave me a better understanding of the sort of things I’d like to write about in the future. It also made me write about things I wasn’t very knowledgeable about. Under the guidance of Ksenija and the other editors, I had to research things and learn more about them in order to write articles about them. Most importantly, it made me get out of my comfort zone.

What did you learn from Ksenija?

She’s a badass. My mother is too, and she encourages me to be that type of person as well.