Keeping Up with Capital Semester: NPR


Written by Asia Hege, Communications Assistant 

Continuing the lineup of distinguished places Capital Semester students visit in D.C., on Jan. 27 they visited the National Public Radio campus. Students toured NPR’s new building in Northeast D.C., and received intern and job advice from Charlie Mahtesian, politics editor for digital news.

For both journalism and public policy students, Mahtesian had advice, thanks to his expansive professional experience in media, law and politics.


 “Mahtesian talked about NPR and a good amount about his own experience in journalism and politics,” said Jill Daley. “He also told us about what he looks for in interns. I want to be a great intern so I took it to heart.”

In reference to interns, Mahtesian shared that many graduates today are intelligent and have great experiences, but there is a trend that few students can actually write well.  Mahtesian’s advice? Read. He told students to read as much as possible, from a variety of sources to improve their writing. The second component to being a good writer?  To write!

More takeaways from Mahtesian’s advice for interns:photo

  • Build relationships in offices where you work.
  • Be willing to pitch in on all tasks happening within a company, no matter how menial.
  • Questions to ask yourself: What is it you like?  How can you do more of it?  How can you meet more people who work in that world?
  • Think about writers you like to read.  How can you write like that, too?
  • Use social media to show your intellectual interests.

After meeting Mahtesian, students toured a floor of the newsroom. They saw NPR staff working and others preparing for an NPR Tiny Desk Concert.

Sara David said her mom listens to NPR and she has been listening since she was a child. “I grew up with NPR, I love it. I’m really excited to be here. I want to absorb as much as I can,” David said.

Next up for Capital Semester students: tours of the Pentagon and Supreme Court, a trip to Mount Vernon and more.



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