Interns provide valuable service


For those of you who have not discovered the joy of interns, let me tell you this: It’s the classic win/win situation for businesses and their potential future employees.

The BBJ has been working with interns for more than a year now, and it has become a welcome routine for us here. We get to take advantage of Western Washington University’s excellent journalism program and have juniors and seniors come to our offices for 280 hours to work for us. We put them to task writing stories, compiling data, proofing and editing, and doing many of the jobs that our regular reporters do.

This provides the BBJ with cheap (read: free) labor and valuable help. It provides the students with on-the-job training and mentorship that they can’t get through their classes. This mentoring in and of itself is part of the reward of working with interns, for it helps managers hone their own skills and learn how to be good trainers and mentors. It also means they build a pool of resumes for future job openings.

For the students, although they are often working for very little, if any, money, they get to see what the workplace is really like, put your business on their resume and hopefully get a good reference from you.

The BBJ has been blessed with a string of good interns. Over the past year, our interns — Krista Grunhurd, Amy Harder, Jackie LeCuyer, Nicole Lamphear, Matt Gagne, and this month we are starting a new intern, Kelly Lemons — have proven themselves to be hard working, resourceful and dedicated. Depending when they intern here, they’ve worked at everything from creating a huge database for our Book of Lists to filling in while reporters are gone or on vacation.

Interns can be and often are used in businesses other than journalism as well. Engineering firms, law firms, educational facilities, doctor’s offices — almost any business can benefit from interns. Western isn’t the only place to look for interns, as both Bellingham Technical College and Whatcom Community College offer specilized training programs as well. After the positive experence the BBJ has had, I would encourage all businesses to look into whether an intern would work for your business.

In other BBJ news, we’ve added another reporter to our award-winning staff. Isaac Bonnell graduated from Western with a degree in environmental journalism last year, and he has been working for The Bellingham Herald as an intern, blogger and freelancer for several months. In the past few weeks, he has been out getting to know some of the business folks in the community, and we’re excited to have him on board as our new full-time reporter.

And also, about the Book of Lists — it’s that time of year again for us, as we call hundreds of local businesses to gather information and update our information on their companies. For those who don’t know about our Book of Lists, this is our fourth year gathering information on more than 450 businesses in the community. For more information, or to fill out one of our industry forms to be considered for our lists, visit our Web site at and click on the Book of Lists tab. We want to hear from your business.


Vanessa Blackburn is the publisher and editor of the Bellingham Business Journal.
She can be reached at

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