What I learned at The Indypendent


The independent has carved a unique place for itself in the New York media landscape as a progressive newspaper on the crusade that tells it as it is with meticulous reporting and incisive analysis. Throughout its 21-year history, the newspaper’s participatory ethics have also created a unique space where dozens of budding young journalists honed their skills and found a platform to spread their wings.

We have continued to do so despite the challenges posed by the pandemic. Below are the stories of four recent India volunteers and interns. When you donate to the Indy in our winter fundraiser, you’re not only helping us keep publishing into the New Year, but you’re investing in the next generation of progressive journalists whose impact over time s ‘will extend well beyond this publication.


Jostle through the city
through Sion DeCoteau

Work as Independent The summer 2021 internship was a fascinating experience. I was able to travel around New York City and cover events like protests to save Rockefeller and East River Parks, and meet interesting people like Amadou Diallo’s mother. While some of my stories were assigned by editors, on other occasions I came up with story ideas that were accepted and published later. One of my favorites was the opening of an exhibit on the history of the protest in Brooklyn. However, a freelance story was the highlight of my entire internship. On the way to my local gymnasium, I saw several newspaper vans gathered around the nearby elementary school. Speaking to a reporter from a local TV station, I was informed that Mayor Bill de Blasio was on his way to the city’s free summer school program to open to re-acclimatize children to the in-person learning after one year of COVID-19 – induced school closings. I stayed and dropped off a story of the event and even took a photo with the mayor himself! It was a great “history hunting” experience and it reinforced for me the importance of perseverance.

A big challenge for me was doing vox pops in which I was tasked with approaching complete strangers and asking their opinion on important information such as this spring’s NYPD crackdown on young revelers in Washington Square. Park, the victory of Eric Adams in the mayoral primary, the degradation of a statue of George Floyd and the resignation of Andrew Cuomo as governor. If you have any concerns in this situation, my advice is to do it! If the person says no, move on and try someone else. Someone must have an opinion on the matter and this might surprise you. My India The internship was a great exercise in overcoming my shyness in approaching and talking to strangers. Overall, I have more confidence in my journalistic skills after completing this internship. For this I am grateful.

So many worlds in one place
through Leia Doran

During my five years of volunteering at The independent, I designed advertisements and layouts, illustrated numerous covers, wrote an article, produced short films, distributed issues at rallies and events, and worked through the night alongside other dedicated volunteers to channel the paper to the printer just under the wire. Sometimes it took a lot of work, but it was also absolutely, without a doubt, worth it. Where could I have explored so many different worlds in one place?

Last year I was asked to write an article from my own perspective on the wave of hate crimes against Asian Americans across the country. I’m not a writer or journalist by any professional metrics, but editors have given me advice, the confidence, and the freedom to say what I need during a deeply difficult time. It was an amazing thing – to have my first article printed on the same pages that captured the brilliant thoughts of accomplished journalists and leading progressive voices. I later made my very first appearance on a live radio show to discuss the article.

The Indy is more than a newspaper. It is also a platform, an experience generator and an invaluable opportunity for those of us who may desire to participate meaningfully in progressive journalism but do not know where to start.

As my own style of illustration evolved, my work with The Indy. The covers I have made (1/2/3/4/5/6) over the years are an important part of my portfolio, and looking through the pile of papers under my desk I can follow the contribution from each issue to my development as an editorial artist.

The Indy is more than a newspaper. It is also a platform, a generator of experiences and an invaluable opportunity for those of us who may desire to participate meaningfully in progressive journalism but do not know where to start.

Hope you will continue to support The Indy, so that he can continue his vital work of amplifying progressive, seasoned and new voices for many years to come.

Commitment to the community
through Julia thomas

The independent has greatly contributed to my growth as a journalist by giving me plenty of opportunities to cover a wide variety of social movements and issues with the support of my colleagues India writers and editors. When I attended my first India editorial meeting in August 2019, I was struck by the warmth and commitment of everyone gathered around the table, as well as the range of political and cultural topics discussed. This commitment to community and the collective provision of thoughtful alternative coverage of current events has continually shone in all of my experiences at The Indy. I have always received helpful and engaged mentorship from editors and have been encouraged to try writing in different styles and follow stories closely as they evolve. I covered Dianne Morales’ campaign for mayor and its implosion, profiled an artist who illustrated the everyday news of the Trump era, reported on the fight to save a beloved supermarket of Crown Heights’ eviction by a sketchy real estate developer and highlighted a Cuban doctor’s perspective on his country’s response to the pandemic. I also had the chance to co-host the weekly Independent News Hour on WBAI 99.5 FM and to provide on-the-ground coverage of local elections and protests.

These opportunities opened my eyes to new interests in the media and the organization, introduced me to great people and challenged me. The Indy is truly unique in the space it offers not only budding journalists, but anyone, to gain experience and write on topics they are passionate about. I am proud and deeply grateful to be a India contributor, and know that the newspaper has really played a central role in my career as a journalist. When you give to The Indy, you support young journalists like me.

Finding your vocation
by Lila Livingston

I am a graduate student of Union Theological Seminary in New York City, and am currently studying Buddhism, Interfaith Engagement, and Movement Practices. The independent I stumbled across my ledger – literally – in November when I called a couple while working for a member at the Park Slope Food Coop. As they filled their backpacks and tote bags with groceries, I noticed the man also carried a stack of newspapers under his arm, which he distributed in his neighborhood.

Before I could ask them what paper they had with them, they gave me a copy of The Indythe most recent problem. Fresh out of the press, the woman pointed me to page 14 to read her latest newspaper article on the COP26 climate change summit in Glasgow, Scotland. Independent, progressive journalism, alive and well, in print, in front of me. How had I not heard of The independent until now?

I took the copy home with me. I placed it next to my desk where I do my reading for school. The seminary is a place of integration between the spiritual and academic worlds, and one of its long-standing goals is to help students discern their calling.

Since obtaining an undergraduate degree in 2018, I have worked as a high school teacher, admissions counselor, landscaper, cook, carpenter and have always known journalism is my calling. I have applied for numerous journalism internships since graduation but have had little success in manifesting my “calling” for entry-level journalism internships which paradoxically require years (and years) of work. ‘experience.

I’ve had The Indy sitting next to me for a week or more as a kind of good luck talisman to find my calling when, between my readings for school, I read the story of the diary and realized that it was used launch pad for independent journalists since its creation.

I reached out to The Indy and I received immediate follow-up and subsequent opportunities to write stories, help with editorial work, and manage a box of papers in my neighborhood. Through The independent, I experience the connections between chaplaincy work and journalism – two vocations committed to integrative practices of listening to and taking charge of the stories that matter in our world.

We are all interconnected in the work of free and independent journalism. The Indy relies on the support of readers like you to keep their eyes and ears on the ground where ordinary people shape our future and the stories that will eventually shape our memory of the past. Support The independent today!

More testimonials

Indy’s unique model lets me cover stories that matter
by Rico Cleffi

My first year at The Indypendent
by Amba Guerguerian

Create a space for artists
by Frank Reynoso

Supporting the Indy is supporting young journalists like me
by Katya Schwenk

“I had zero experience”
by Sarah Stuteville

Please support the independent media today! Now celebrating its 22 years of publishing, The independent is still standing but it’s not easy. Make a recurring or one-off donation today or subscribe to our monthly print edition and have each copy delivered directly to your doorstep.


About Author

Comments are closed.