On the Beat in Erie

Jul 27, 2020

Student Hannah Wyman gains reporting experience as a summer intern with the 'Erie Reader.'

hannah wyman

In just two years, Hannah Wyman, an Honors Program student majoring in English with a minor in women’s studies, has been quite engaged on the Cal U campus as Cal Times news editor, a Peer Mentor, and a member of the Student Activities Board and Alpha Lambda Delta.

This summer, she is also busy back home as an intern with the Erie Reader, a weekly alternative newspaper focused on art, culture, and news.

Wyman began her internship May 14 and has published more than 20 stories, focused mainly on the COVID-19 pandemic. Erie County was among the first to move into the yellow phase on May 8, but was one of the last in Pennsylvania to move to the green phase on June 26.

She also covered protests in Erie following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

Interviews included a man who started a petition for the removal of an Erie police officer after a video of an alleged assault during a peaceful protest went viral. She also interviewed a person who started a GoFundMe page for a protester who was arrested.

“Neither person knew the people affected but felt moved to start something, and thousands of citizens quickly supported them,” Wyman said. “I have enjoyed seeing and covering the local impacts and how people come together for these efforts, especially with the times that we are in. It’s been moving seeing people step up and help each other out.”

She also wrote a review about the Netflix series Never Have I Ever.

“That was something I never did before in a class or for the school paper,” Wyman said. “I really liked that experience because I could offer my opinion, but writing those are more difficult than people would think.”

Wyman plans to bring her community-oriented experience back to the campus and Cal Times this academic year.

“I really like doing all of the local stories, and perhaps we can get the opportunity to go out more in the Borough of California this fall,” she said. “This internship has given me the chance to talk to so many people I would have never talked to, and they’re kind and excited to have their plans and events shared in our publication.

“It would be great to do more of that at Cal.”

Dr. Debbie Goh, assistant professor in the Department of Culture, Media and Performance, is not surprised by Wyman’s success.

“Hannah is so smart, but what makes her an outstanding student is her eagerness to learn, her excellent work ethic and quality content. No task is too mundane for her,” said Goh, who is Wyman’s academic and internship is adviser. “Even with the most basic assignment, which she already knows how to do well, she will look for ways to present her stories so that they will be meaningful and engaging to her readers.

“In the current climate, where the news industry is facing so many threats, it is heartening to have a student like Hannah, who is passionate and dedicated to pursuing impactful journalism.

Her summer internship has only enhanced Wyman’s desire to be a reporter and editor.

“Doing the internship has showed me how much fun and impactful it is to be a community-wide reporter,” she said. “I am excited to come back to campus.”