Alison Matas ’11 gets dream internship with Chautauqua Institution in N.Y.

Alison Matas ’11 (Kent, Ohio) cherishes the many journalistic opportunities afforded her as the editor of The Marcolian and as a student writer in College Relations. But the opportunity that awaits her this summer is a once-in-a-lifetime break.

Matas was recently selected as a summer intern for the Chautauquan Daily at the Chautauqua Institution in Chautauqua, N.Y. The Daily is the official paper of the Chautauqua Institution and is distributed six days a week. It was started in 1876.

Matas will focus her time on the coverage of operas. The operas being performed at Chautauqua this summer are “Norma” by Vincenzo Bellini and Cavalleria rusticana & Pagliacci (double bill). For the first, music is by Pietro Mascagni and the libretto is by Giovanni Targioni-Tozzetti & Guido Menasci. Pagliacci is by Ruggero Leoncavallo.

“I know I’ll be spending the first week or so in training. Since the institution is primarily a summer vacation spot, the newspaper has to hire new reporters each summer; there is a very minimal full-time staff,” Matas says. “We spend that first week learning about the institution and planning our beats. I’ll receive notes from the former opera beat reporter, and, based on those, decide what stories I want to write and when I want to write them.”

Four times a week Matas will meet with other staff writers for morning meetings. “But afterward we’re free to go wherever we want to write or we can do our work in the evening and experience the institution during the day,” Matas says.

The run time for the Institution is June 15 to Aug. 9. However, Matas will have to depart early. Normally that would have eliminated her for consideration for the post, but fortunate for her the opera season ends two days before she must return to Marietta College.

“I feel incredibly blessed to have the opportunity to spend my summer working for the Chautauquan Daily. I will get real experience as a reporter, and I’ll also get to partake in the cultural activities that abound at the Chautauqua Institution,” Matas says. “My internship will be a great expansion on not only my journalism education but also my liberal arts education as well.”

Chautauqua is perhaps best known for its morning lecture series when the Amphitheater stage becomes the platform for distinguished speakers across a broad range of disciplines. Susan B. Anthony argued for women’s suffrage in 1892, and Franklin D. Roosevelt gave his “I Hate War” speech in 1936. Margaret Mead, Amelia Earhart, Thurgood Marshall, Freeman Dyson, Jane Goodall, Sandra Day O’Connor and Kurt Vonnegut have all spoken there.

“It’s a terrific internship in that it gives students reporting experience with nationally prominent artists, performers and thinkers—leaders to whom they would not otherwise have access until they had moved further along in their careers,” says Dr. Joan Price, Assistant Professor of Communication and Media Studies. “It all takes place on a gorgeous lake, with a large staff of college interns who seem to have fun and form useful connections, guided by a professional editor—it’s pretty close to a dream internship.”

Price is confident Matas will do well and represent Marietta College at the highest level. 

“I’ve placed several of my students there in the past, and I worked with alumni and the editor of the Chautauquan Daily to make sure that Alison received favorable consideration, because she is truly a talented student. Alison works hard at everything she does, from class work to choir to guiding The Marcolian as its editor,” Price says. “The internship combines her love of journalism and her love of music. Alison is thrilled about the internship, and I’m so pleased that she will be able to continue to develop her journalism skills. I’m also hopeful that her participation at Chautauqua may pave the way for future Marietta interns.”