by Kira Barrett
"Dave Sebastian started his journalism career as a shy middle schooler, walking around in his native Jakarta Indonesia, and talking to strangers. In journalism, these are called “Man on the Street” interviews, but Sebastian was just trying to overcome his introversion to be a better writer. After talking to a few people that day, he did.
Sebastian, 21, is now an incoming Wall Street Journal intern and college graduate. With two degrees in economics and journalism from Boston University, Sebastian will enter the breaking news division at WSJ this summer. “I’m excited to fully focus on writing quantitatively,” he says. “I expect it to be challenging.”
Sebastian has yet to cover the stock market, but this won’t be his first business reporting experience. In his final semester at Boston University, as business and technology editor of BU News Service, Sebastian wrote seven articles, while interning for a Boston company called Innovation Leader.
Many journalists go into the field because they love language but despise numbers. Not Sebastian. His true interest in business and financial journalism is rare, according to his supervisor at Innovation Leader, Scott Kirsner. “He always asks really good questions.”
Another supervisor, Kaitlin Milliken, praised his ability to find story ideas, saying he consistently broadened their coverage.
Sebastian’s laser focus on business journalism is evident. After starting at BU's Daily Free Press freshmen year, he has moved on to internships at WBUR and Bloomberg Law. Sebastian interned in London in 2018, EisnerAmper, where he researched tax regulations.
“I really like the research process. It’s rigorous in fact checking. That’s what is important as a journalist. You have to spot trends,” Sebastian says.
Sebastian feels the most pride for his refugee project for the Asian American Journalists’ Association. As part of a team of students, he wrote profiles of refugees from different countries. Sebastian told the story of an entrepreneur from Sudan. As an international student, he felt this piece was important.
He describes himself as a world citizen. His reporting started in Jakarta, Indonesia, where he grew up, but it’s taken him to many different places. You can track his journeys through his colorful Instagram: Boston for school, England for a tax internship, Las Vegas for reporting on the Consumer Electronics Show and now New York City for #DJNFbiz19. He discovers each new city through running its streets and trails, from the Charles River Esplanade in Boston to the Rock Creek Trail in D.C.
Sebastian’s most recent and last article for BU News Service was not surprisingly about the Boston Marathon. It’s his third year covering the event. Sebastian, a self-described researcher, analyzed the demographics of avid runners: well-traveled, well-educated and competitive in their careers.
Sebastian has yet to run a full marathon, although it’s on his bucket list, but he fits right in with the typical crowd. Smart, type-a, dedicated, always on the move. Despite all he has accomplished in his four years at Boston University, Sebastian’s journalism career isn’t a sprint- his internship at WSJ is just the starting line."