King’s student lands internship with the Pittsburgh Penguins
King's Junior Debs Francisco is fulfilling a dream she has had since she was fifteen years old—that of becoming a hockey writer. Francisco, originally from New Mexico, is interning this semester with the Pittsburgh Penguins, the city’s National Hockey League (NHL) team that made it to the final round of the playoffs last year. The youthfulness of the team, and the excitement that accompanies it, "attracted me to doing this internship," Francisco said.
In order to fulfill her dream, Francisco started sports writing in high school. When she came to King’s she joined the staff of the student newspaper, The Student Voice, and attended World Journalism Institute’s summer journalism course at King’s. Her writing experience landed her an internship at Madison Square Garden, the premier sports facility in New York, during her sophomore year and she became a regular contributor to a hockey blog. Now she’s with one of the premier teams in the league and her writing has even appeared on the league’s official website NHL.com.
Francisco works under the supervision of the Penguins online content editor as a staff writing intern. During home games she sits in the press box and keeps a live blog for the Penguins official website. She covers all of the team's community relations events for the website and she is also responsible for writing feature stories on the players and coaches for each game day program.
"I love reporting the community outreach stories because it's important to remind fans that the players are real people and not just athletes," Francisco said. "I've witnessed some truly touching moments where the players have reached out to kids or families, and I feel privileged to share those moments with the public through my stories."
Two stories she has written so far include features about a local sled hockey team practicing on the Penguin's ice, and a boy from the Make-A-Wish Foundation who wanted to be a Penguin for a day. Francisco said that the Make-A-Wish Foundation story is the best story she has gotten to write so far, and the NHL recently featured the story on its website.
"So far, my internship has been an incredible learning experience," Francisco said. "I have no doubt that after I'm done here I will be prepared for a job in any area of journalism, not just sportswriting. It's been kind of surreal for me. I mean to dream of doing this for so long, and then to come into work each day and wear my official NHL media credential, and to interview NHL players or mingle with the media--I'm so blessed."
When asked what her favorite moment was thus far, she said, "meeting Sidney Crosby, getting to go to the locker room to interview the players, and getting to interact with the players as a professional." By the time the internship is over, "I would like to have a conversation with Mario Lemieux," Francisco said. Lemieux is a former player for the Penguins and the current owner, and Crosby is the league’s most popular young star.
Regarding internships at King’s, Francisco said, "If you want to get internships, you just have to try. No one is going to walk up to you and hand you your dream internship. To land good internships, you need to be out there and try to get experience."
During her internship, Francisco said she is being prepared to apply what she has learned through the PPE program to the real world.
"King's prepared me so well for this internship, and I never even realized it. Having a business wardrobe has been huge. King's has taught me about networking and writing. I'm learning so much everyday about writing."
A version of this story originally appeared in The King’s College student newspaper The Student Voice. The author, Madison Peace, is a freshman from South Carolina studying PP&E.
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