Carnegie Mellon University

Zachary Goldstein Explored Data Journalism Through the Pittsburgh Summer Internship Program

October 24, 2018

Zachary Goldstein Explored Data Journalism Through the Pittsburgh Summer Internship Program

By Erin Mosher O’Brien

Zachary Goldstein, a senior statistics major and member of the Quantitative Social Science Scholars Program, spent the summer of 2018 as a data intern at 90.5 WESA, Pittsburgh’s NPR news station. Through the Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Science’s Pittsburgh Summer Internship Program, he received funding to support his internship experience.

While Goldstein is back in classes this fall, his data reporting projects have continued to air on the radio and appear online. His latest story, “How School Choice Impacts Diversity at Pittsburgh Schools,” is part of WESA’s series "Dividing Lines: The Shape of Education in Pittsburgh."

Goldstein shares his thoughts on his internship in the following Q&A:

Where did you intern, and what did you do?
I was a data intern at 90.5 WESA. I did a lot of data cleaning, analysis and visualization, and I also wrote stories for their website and radio programs. You can see exactly what I did at the 90.5 WESA website

How did you secure this opportunity?
Mark Patterson, director of the QSSS program at CMU, has a connection at WESA, and that really helped. Also, Cameron Dively (DC ‘18) and the team behind the Dietrich College Pittsburgh Summer Internship Program helped by starting and running the program.

What did you get out of your internship experience?
Since I was the only person with data science training there, I got to have a large impact. I also got to do some interesting and challenging data science work and share it with the public. And I learned more about journalism, as well as how to communicate technical topics to non-technical audiences and colleagues.

Did your internship impact your career trajectory?
I am more strongly considering pursuing a career as a data journalist than I was before the internship.

How did your academic and extracurricular experiences at CMU help you during your internship?
I had done some prior work that was relevant to the internship, such as doing data journalism for The Tartan student newspaper and working on data projects for a student organization at CMU called SUDS (Students Using Data for Social-Good). I think some courses and course projects helped as well, especially “Intro to GIS” and “Practical Data Science” in the Information Systems Program.