By Kyle Cotton
Before Rachel Rippetoe walked into the University of Portland’s student publication The Beacon, she already had a talent for writing.
Now, Rippetoe, the 22-year old Nashville native, is hoping to make herself a better reporter as one of 10 Dow Jones News Fund American Business Journal interns for 2018.
In high school writing was the only thing she was good at, as she struggled in various different sports she tried out, she said.
“Journalism was this combination of two things I really enjoyed,” Rippetoe said. “One was writing, but then two was, I would be part of these sports teams even though I was awful at them, because I really like being part of a team.”
“When there was this job that opened up at the paper in high school I joined it and I was like, ‘this is exactly what I need,’” she said.
Atl that time she had no intention of being a professional journalist as she passed up going to a few journalism schools.
“I didn’t want to limit myself to journalism, because I was scared of it I think,” She said.
However, after a semester as a political science major at the University of Portland, she found her way to The Beacon for the same reason she joined her high school paper, so she could write and be part of a team.
From a newsroom that Rippetoe describes as not much bigger than a closet, she and The Beacon would win various regional and national awards during her time working for the publication.
“We were just this band of scrappy underfunded journalists,” Rippetoe said.
It is in this setting that Rippetoe found that this is what she wanted to do with her life, as she started telling stories that were controversial and holding people in power accountable.
From the start of her college career at The Beacon, Rippetoe was a well of story ideas from the moment she walk into the newsroom and was confident from the very beginning, said Nancy Copic, assistant director of student media at the University of Portland and advisor at The Beacon.
During her time at The Beacon she covered subjects ranging from Shark bite survivors to institutional sexism on campus and held multiple positions, including Editor-in-Chief her Senior year.
Now a graduate she is challenging herself even further as she will be pursuing her masters degree at City University of New York in the fall.
Rippetoe wants to cover politics once she begins her career and she feels the investigative reporting graduate program at CUNY and the Dow Jones New Fund American Business Journal internship, will help her prepare for a political reporting career.
This will be Rippetoe’s second journalism internship as she was previously an intern at The Register-Guard based the Eugene, Oregon as part of the the University of Oregon’s Charles Snowden Excellence in Journalism internship program.
Rippetoe said she loved her experience at The Register-Guard as it really forced her to put herself out there to get a story.
She recalled one particularly instance in which she had to cover an incident where a homeless man was attacked with a hatchet in a Walmart parking lot. After she told her editor the cops wouldn’t talk to her, the editor told her to go back out to scene and find people who saw what happened.
She said the moment helped her grow as a reporter as it forced her to put herself out there for her job.
Rippetoe will be interning at The Nashville Business Journal as part of her Dow Jones News Fund internship.
Copic said The Journal will be getting someone who is committed and will put in more hours than she needs to make sure the job gets done
While Copic doesn’t know what drives Rippetoe, she said she is committed to her craft and a voracious consumer of news.
“She wants to be where the big story is and will do what she needs to put herself in position to tell it,” Copic said.