“I like the challenge of taking something people may not necessarily understand,” Mariana Dale said, “whether it’s the budget that their city council is trying to pass or the success of a a high school jazz program, and making it accessible to people.”
Ms. Dale, 22, graduated from The University of Arizona at Tucson this month. She has interned at Arizona Public Media, The Arizona Daily Star and The Tucson Sentinel. One of her favorite assignments was a multimedia story for Arizona Public Media on a 2013 congressional gridlock over a farm bill. The bill did not include state funding for a drought program, which is seen by some as a necessity for Arizona’s dry climate. Ms. Dale woke up at 4 a.m. and drove several hours to interview a local cattle rancher, Jim Riggs, to see how the cutbacks in drought relief would affect his business.
“Not everyone gets to hear from the rancher that lives two hours off the highway,” she said. “I thought it was valuable to bring a voice like that to light. That’s not someone you get to talk to everyday at the grocery store.”
Ms. Dale wants to stretch herself at The New York Times Student Journalism Institute in New Orleans by covering some subject she is not familiar with. And she looks forward to meeting other journalists.
“I’ve always tried to do things that would put me around people that are as passionate or more passionate than I am about journalism because I think it’s really inspiring,” she said.
Ms. Dale said she is also looking forward to the New Orleans cuisine.
After the institute, she will work at The Arizona Republic as a Pulliam Fellow for 10 weeks as part of its border-and-immigration investigative team.
Her long-term goal is to stay in journalism in whatever capacity possible. Ms. Dale said she particularly likes how she learns something new every day.
“It’s never boring,” she said. “It’s never static, and you’ll never have to spend 40 hours a week in a cubicle.”