SBU seniors explore international journalism during internship in Italy

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August 05, 2022

By Tyler Carro, ’22

Two senior journalism students from St. Bonaventure University have completed their fourth week of internship at Positano News in Piano di Sorrento, Italy.

Marnique Olivieri-Panepento and Elizabeth Egan received their internship at the Sant’Anna Institute, where they and 11 other Bonaventure students are taking classes this summer as part of the study abroad program in Sorrento, Italy.

Olivieri-Panepento, from Buffalo, and Egan, from Rochester, enjoyed their new adventures and learned to adapt to the Italian journalistic process and culture.

During their internship at Positano News, an online newspaper for the Amalfi Coast and Sorrento Peninsula, Olivieri-Panepento and Egan focused on tourism in nearby villages.

The stories they wrote include:

Almost every day they take a train two towns away and experience the passions of European culture.

Positano News Director Michele Cinque takes Olivieri-Panepento and Egan to meet people and explore places that most budding journalists will never encounter. The nature of unplanned interviews is something both students are well versed in.

Learning to communicate without words is another skill the two women pick up as they go along. Working in an office and conducting interviews where English is not widely spoken teaches them to pay attention to what people are saying, even if it’s in a different language. Paying attention to tone, hand gestures and facial expressions helped them achieve this.

Elizabeth Egan and Marnique Olivieri-Panepento are pictured with their newsroomOlivieri-Panepento and Egan began working together as students at the Jandoli School of Communication in Saint-Bonaventure, where they partnered to write articles for PolitiFact New York, worked together as editor and editor for Her Campus., and shared ideas for their classes. They are grateful for this foundation and for their teachers at the Jandoli school who prepared them with knowledge and encouragement.

Olivieri-Panepento acknowledges that the opportunity to work in a foreign country is rare for a student and says she learned professional skills that she will retain throughout her career.

“The pace of the Italian workplace defined a new approach to how I see success and shaped many new values,” Olivieri-Panepento said.

“Positano News forces its interns to become fearless journalists – to never stop asking questions. Our boss tells us: “Ask, ask, ask”. It’s journalism. You ask and take pictures. You are journalists. Due to the language barrier, we have to listen differently and process what is being said carefully. Although different countries around the world define journalism differently, there is a common commitment to the undeniable work ethic that underlies all journalists.

For Egan, the internship exceeded his expectations.

“While the surprised face of our boss when he learned that we didn’t speak Italian on the first day left me quite nervous, my little Italian, his little English and a lot of hand gestures made us enabled us to quickly develop our own system of communicating,” she said.

“Following our boss blindly on a fishing boat in Positano, embarking on a private tour of an ancient Roman villa, crashing two weddings and asking the locals to shower us with free espresso and limoncello in the name of journalism are just some of the many amazing experiences I will never forget from this internship,” added Egan. “Most importantly, the experience taught me important lessons about listening, being bold in interviews and that the key to being a good journalist is to walk.”

At the end of the five weeks, Egan and Olivieri-Panepento will present at the Sant’Anna Institute and summarize their internship experience through an e-portfolio to share with other interns, staff and the Cinque Chief Information Officer. .

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