by Nate Doughty
Laura Spitalniak’s classrooms during most of her academic career at the University of Maryland were essentially anywhere other than in the buildings on campus. For nearly every semester over the past three years, Spitalniak has been out in the field working on investigations, writing news briefs or producing videos for national news outlets to prepare herself for a career in the media industry.
“I really haven’t been on campus much,” Spitalniak said. “I’ve been working basically as much as possible.”
Now, at the age of 22 and with a bachelor’s degree in multimedia journalism and a minor in business, Spitalniak could not be more eager to begin her summer assignment with the Washington Business Journal.
This past semester, Spitalniak, who was born in Westminster, MD, worked as a global affairs intern with ABC News in Washington, D.C. She reported on national political stories and successfully helped the network secure grant funding to expand its news coverage on social media. Spitalniak’s main assignment during the internship focused on finding new information regarding the U.S. Navy’s “Fat Leonard” corruption scandal for an upcoming podcast due out later this summer.
In the summer of 2018, Spitalniak worked as a Consumer Reports breaking news intern in Yonkers, New York. Her reporting mostly focused on how businesses were impacted by the Affordable Care Act.
During the spring semester of 2018, Spitalniak worked as an investigative reporter for the Capital News Service, a student run wire service that provides coverage on state politics in Va. and Md.
The previous semester, in the fall of 2017, Spitalniak interned with CBS News in the greater DC area. She produced video content for the company’s Newspath service, which allows for producers and affiliate broadcast stations to quickly share and distribute information around the country.
Before working at CBS, Spitalniak secured a position as a communications intern with the U.S. Naval Academy Alumni Association & Foundation in the summer of 2017.
Spitalniak’s 2017 spring semester was spent working as an editorial intern with the Washington Diplomat, a monthly newspaper based in the nation’s capital. She covered business and political news for the publication’s email newsletter.
With the experience she acquired at different media outlets, Spitalniak is excited to start working again in the DC area, where she currently resides. Business reporting at the Washington Business Journal will cater exactly to her interests, Spitalniak said, as she stressed the importance of such work.
“When you put dollar signs in front of numbers, everything becomes a whole lot more interesting,” Spitalniak said. “I think it’s prudent for anyone who does want to be in journalism to understand where the money is coming from because if you don’t, you might not be aroundfor the next news cycle.”
By living in the D.C. area for many of her prior internships, Spitalniak has had the unique opportunity to combine her interest in politics and business reporting. Of her interest in business reporting specifically, Spitalniak said it stemmed from her curiosity in how the world is impacted by different companies and how these different companies interact with one another.
Spitalniak added that despite the seemingly constant political developments out of Washington, high-quality business specific reporting is essential.
“I think that, given the current political climate, it can be very easy to overlook corporations and private companies,” Spitalniak said. “To be able to go and report on them is of immense value.”
Spitalniak starts full-time with the Washington Business Journal on June 10 after a weeklong training in New York City with the Dow Jones News Fund and American City Business Journals.