Former Editor-in-Chief Joe DiSipio ’14 shares his internship experiences and explains how the BFC shaped his college pursuits.
The election season comes around every four years and the country is absorbed by the drama, glamour, and anticipation. However, when the White House is literally in your backyard, you “can’t wait until it’s over so you can talk about something else at lunch.”
That’s the mindset Notre Dame junior Joe DiSipio has after spending his fall semester in Washington D.C. Even though he had to give up the Fighting Irish’s Saturday football games, he’s glad he took advantage of this unique opportunity.
“Being here a month before the election is crazy. No other way to describe it. It’s literally all anyone talks about,” DiSipio said. “I had to give up football season over at school to come down here but it’s totally worth it considering how amazing this experience is.”
How does someone attending college in Indiana get all the way to D.C. for the semester? Join Notre Dame’s internship program.
“I joined a program through school known as the Washington program,” DiSipio said. “It’s basically an alternate to studying abroad where kids come down to [D.C.] and everyone gets an internship.”
DiSipio majors in economics at Notre Dame but feels like he fits right in with the rest of the students.
“A lot of kids are political science majors and get cool internships like on Capitol Hill, at lobbying firms, etc,” DiSipio said. “But I don’t feel like I’m at a disadvantage. I’m just preparing for a different type of career just like the engineers in the program might be preparing to become great science writers.”
The program allows for students to see what it’s like to be a part of the corporate world while maintaining their educational experience.
“Everyone takes three classes at night through University of California, Washington Center (UCDC) so we don’t miss out on class,” DiSipio said. “It’s basically a co-op program like Drexel has where you have the opportunity to get some work experience while still being in school.”
Joe’s internship is at the political newspaper known as The Hill where he has already written solo articles that have made it on the website.
“I think I applied to like thirty internships this summer and I heard back from some of them but I ended up reaching out to fellow friar Kevin Cirilli and asked for his advice,” DiSipio said. “I told him that I was applying for The Hill and he was pumped because he actually had worked there previously.”
“He had me send him my resume in an email, I was able to get my foot in the door for an interview, and now, here I am,” he said.
So far, DiSipio is loving the internship, especially the support he is receiving from his superiors.
“It’s incredible. I didn’t really know that much about The Hill coming into this but it’s literally the best opportunity ever because they’re actually letting me write,” DiSipio said. “They’re not holding my hand; they truly have confidence in me.”
Even with his economics background, Joe has taken on stories from many different spheres and doesn’t feel confined to simply writing about the numbers or tax issues of the election.
“Even though I’m majoring in economics I’m really branching out and writing about everything I can. One week I was writing about the pipeline protest and the next I was writing about Jose Fernandez because Rubio mentioned him on the Senate floor,” he said. “And then this week I was helping a columnist write a piece on whose Halloween costume gets purchased more: Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton’s. Check out the story to see who wins.”
Despite his deep involvement in the field now, DiSipio didn’t initially have journalism as one of his passions.
“The BFC is the main reason I have the journalism bug,” he said. “I didn’t really think of journalism at all until I got to Malvern. In my junior year it really took off. Being able to cover cool things at Malvern really got me interested in reporting.”
Even after such a great stint of reporting in high school, Joe didn’t start pursuing journalism in college until his spring semester of junior year.
“When I got to Notre Dame, I didn’t really do much writing,” he said. “It was then that I realized how much the paper shaped my Malvern experience and how much I missed it. That’s when I applied for the journalism major and that’s why, I truly believe, I’m where I am today.”
Minoring in journalism, DiSipio believes, is the best way for him to pursue a career in the field.
“You learn so much about journalism on the job anyway that I think it’s almost better to major in something else. When you dedicate all your time to studying journalism you lose out on how to think and your investigating and reporting actually get weaker,” he said.
The combination of his economics major and journalism minor, he feels, is going to set him up well for whatever the future holds for him. He says that his time at Malvern gave him the inspiration for his major and minor at Notre Dame.