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FOR FREE PEOPLE

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Meet the Interns: Introducing Our Future Bosses

How do you build something that outlasts you?

How do you build something that outlasts you?

That’s a question I wake up every day thinking about—and have since December, when we officially launched The Free Press.

As those who have been with me since the very beginning know, this project began as a solo newsletter called Common Sense. When I hung up that shingle, I had no idea who would sign up. But sign up you did. It was a success beyond my wildest imagination. And in our era of online gurus and influencers and one-man-band podcasts and newsletters, it often seems the smart money—and for sure the quick buck—is going at it alone. 

So why mess with a good thing? Why, when our institutions are more of a mess than ever, would anyone try to build one?

The answer is because in our era of rampant institutional distrust, the thing we have to build most are trustworthy institutions. Institutions that are more important than any single person. Institutions that can organize inchoate movements. And in the case of journalistic institutions: outlets staffed by reporters and columnists who promise to tell the truth about the world as it actually is; to own up to mistakes and correct them; to help readers make sense of our rapidly changing world.

One essential step to building that kind of institution: find young, hungry people who want to learn how to do that kind of independent journalism. Specifically, the five brilliant interns I am excited to introduce to you today.

And you deserve to meet them, because those of you who are paying subscribers have made this possible.

You’ve made so much possible. You’ve allowed us to hire the best reporters and editors in the business. You’ve allowed us to open a sunny office in Los Angeles—after hundreds of Zoom calls, I was beginning to think none of my colleagues had legs—and soon, another one in New York. You’ve helped us get the best microphones and equipment to produce Honestly. You’ve enabled us to buy flights (economy! middle seats!) to send our reporters all over the country to cover stories that the mainstream media chooses to ignore

And this year, thanks to you, we have interns.

I should say here that had I not had a summer internship at The Wall Street Journal, I would not be a journalist at all. I walked into the building the summer after my senior year of college knowing nothing. I walked out knowing ever so slightly more than nothing—but with a sense of what might be possible to learn if I worked extremely hard. Most importantly, I now knew the names and faces of the people who had put in those hours—and saw fit, for whatever reason, to try to help me down that same path.

That’s what we hope to do this summer.

Our interns have been assigned to work across our podcast, print, and business departments, and they’re already contributing a huge amount—from helping Nellie hunt for TGIF gems, to reporting stories, to tracking down archival tape for Honestly. You’ll read more about each of them below.

If you are inspired by the kind of young people who want to be part of building The Free Press and want to help us mentor more of them: please, if you haven’t yet, become a paid subscriber today.

When you pay $80 a year for a subscription you’re not just supporting great independent journalism, you’re supporting the building of great independent journalists.

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If you have questions for our interns, they’ll be hanging out in the comments! 

BW

Gabriel Cohen, 23

Hometown: Chicago, IL 

School: University of Maryland, Class of 2023 

Why did you want to work at The Free Press

C.S. Lewis once said, “The most dangerous ideas in a society are not the ones being argued, but the ones that are assumed.” I was drawn to The Free Press because it seeks to challenge assumptions that are widely considered out of bounds, like this piece that thoughtfully engages with RFK Jr.’s ideas or Ethan Strauss’s story on the NCAA’s “Hot Girl Problem.”

In my short time here, I’ve been able to watch The FP’s staff germinate and execute stories and debate headlines. I’ve also helped report a story in the field. I am so excited to be working for The Free Press and hope to contribute as much as I can!

What are your plans post-internship? 

This fall, I’ll be attending law school at NYU where I hope to focus on litigation and corporate accountability. Long-term, I hope to continue writing and one day publish a novel. 

Abigail Anthony, 23

Hometown: Raleigh, North Carolina

School: Princeton University, Class of 2023

Why did you want to work at The Free Press

Throughout my undergraduate years at Princeton, I was an editor at The Princeton Tory, the conservative publication on campus. I also wrote opinion articles and reports for the wider media on the illiberalism that pervaded our campus. I often felt that my peers were professing falsehoods to gain social acceptance or professional advancement. I once criticized a statement by the recreational ballet student club that proclaimed ballet “an imperialist, colonialist, and white supremacist art form,” and afterward, fellow dancers wrote to me privately to express their agreement.

I also noticed that mainstream publications distorted data and evidence to promote a progressive narrative, even when knowing such narratives were false. I wanted to work for The Free Press because it is a publication with intellectual diversity committed to truth, not political ideology. 

What are your plans post-internship? 

I will be attending Oxford University this fall as a Barry Scholar for a two-year master’s degree in linguistics. After that, I hope to continue working in journalism as a writer, or perhaps attend law school. 

Michael Sauvage, 29

Hometown: Denver, CO

School: Stanford Graduate School of Business, Class of 2024; Vanderbilt University, Class of 2015

Why did you want to work at The Free Press

Over the past several years, it has come sharply into focus that the legacy news outlets, on which I used to rely, are increasingly talking down to their audiences rather than informing them. Facts seem cherry-picked, and opinions knee-jerk. I believe reliable, independent journalism is critical in a healthy society, and Bari and the team at The Free Press cover vital topics in a way few other news outlets do. We can solve our world’s toughest problems only by understanding them objectively, and engaging in honest debates. No publication takes that call to action more seriously than The Free Press. The news is a mess and The Free Press is trying to fix it.

This summer, I’m analyzing subscriber and podcast listener data to make the user experience as seamless as possible, expand our reach, and continue to provide unparalleled content to our audience.

What are your plans post-internship? 

After I get my MBA, I hope to support and grow the platforms of writers and organizations who are communicating honestly and thoughtfully, like The Free Press! This may be through business development, content strategy, or film and television production. 

Evan Gardner, 20

Hometown: New York, NY

School: Brown University Class of 2025

Why did you want to work at The Free Press

I believe that meaning comes only from sustained, meditative engagement with something, whether it is investigative journalism, a song, or simply thinking about what someone said to you last night. This approach requires one thing above all: fearlessness. The deepest forms of meaning are not predetermined by one’s interpretation or ideology, but rather arrived at from a long process of study, of reflection, of venturing into the unknown. 

I came to The Free Press because I believe in its mission. In an era of digital convenience and ideological binaries, The Free Press dares to follow meaning into the unknown. 

What are your plans post-internship? 

I am really passionate about nonfiction writing, especially cultural criticism—you can read my articles for Brown’s student newspaper here— and I hope to continue pursuing magazine writing in the future.

Julia Steinberg, 21

Hometown: Los Angeles, CA

School: Stanford University, Class of 2025

Why did you want to work at The Free Press

I took a gap year after high school and worked on a commune in rural Montana. There, I became frustrated by an artificial community built around a fantasy that no one really believed in, and discovered the necessity of ideological diversity. You can read about all that here. Now, I write for a heterodox paper on my college campus, the Stanford Review, where I cover topics like student housing and the Hoover Institution

I didn’t want to spend this summer going through the motions in a sterile internship program. I wanted to scale up. The Free Press’ values of thinking creatively and asking incisive questions attracted me to the publication, and I am so happy to work with people who foster and celebrate these values. 

What are your plans post-internship? 

I have a few years left of college where I’m studying comparative literature, history, and Russian, but after that I hope to work in a career in writing or law. One day, I’d like to own a coffee shop in a quaint coastal town.

Supporting the future of independent journalism costs just $80 a year. So join our free-thinking Free Press community and become a paid subscriber today.

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