Thursday, July 2, 2009

Woolbright '12: Working crime beat at SA Express-News

Matt Woolbright '12 is interning at the San Antonio Express-News, his hometown paper. He's on the crime team, and says he's greatly enjoying monitoring the scanners and working breaking news on tight deadlines.

Woolbright described the typical pace: He heads out to the scene with the goal of reporting back within five minutes to give enough basics to get an item up on the Web. Then he phones back every five minutes or so to add details as he develops the story.

When I talked to him Monday, he had just grabbed a bite of dinner after a day that included contributing to the E-N coverage of a gas line fire which began with an explosion that critically injured a worker; it left 87 customers without power. The E-N had the story posted online and updated at least twice before the fire was put out, and then posted the wrapup.

In addition to the cops beat, usually he'll work as a general assignment reporter one night a week, Woolbright said.

His internship began June 1, and he's had 10 bylines in the paper so far. His first story is one of his favorites: "Air Force sergeant returns early, surprises daughter." It drew community response, was picked up by national outlets and drew many comments on the paper's Web site.

The family commented afterward, Woolbright said, that "I was able to capture their joy and really translate to the outside world how happy they were."

Woolbright, a sophomore, began on the Battalion staff his freshman year, and this fall he'll be the Batt's managing editor for news.