Adam Howard was a Nation intern in 2005. Formerly Assistant Web Editor of TheNation.com, Howard is now Deputy Editor of The Grio. In this interview Summer 2012 intern Daniel LoPreto talks to Howard about his work and how he got his start.
1. How did you get from being an intern to where you are now?
A lot of networking and lucky breaks. I was able to get a freelance fact-checking gig at Rolling Stone after the Nation, which led to brief stints at Entertainment Weekly and Maxim (of all places!). I wound up returning to the Nation as a web editor, which gave me invaluable experience, which I put to good use at my current job.
2. What is your favorite part of being a primarily online journalist?
I suppose the immediacy of it. It's probably closest working at a breaking newsroom at an old-fashioned newspaper but with a lot more technical efficiency and speed.
3. Who is someone you met at the Nation who had a profound impact on you?
This is probably an unremarkable answer but without a doubt [Nation editor-in-chief] Katrina vanden Heuvel, As soon I met her (in the opening days of the internship) I knew I wanted to work with her. And during the summer of 2005 she kindly took me under her wing, listened to my insights and stayed in touch with me for years afterward.
4. Where did you publish your first piece and what was it about?
You know, I am not 100 percent sure, I suppose it was likely in the Amsterdam News, the historically African-American paper in Harlem. I went [to] Columbia University for journalism school and we each got a beat. As a black American I felt a special connection to Harlem and I pretty much begged to get it as an assignment. I had no clips and was ambitious as hell. I recall one of my earliest pieces getting published there.
5. Who is your favorite writer and why?
I tend not to really follow any one particular journalist in a fanboy-ish sort of way. I never really understood that tendency. I can much more easily think of novelists as a favorite instead of a journalist. I am a big fan of Rolling Stone and New York magazine. I suppose I find John Heilemann witty. Frank Rich is usually pretty terrific too. As far as Nation folks go I've always had a soft spot for Melissa Harris-Perry.
6. You've written a lot about film for the Grio — who is an actor or director we should all be paying attention to?
It's really impossible for me to pick one. I think PT [Paul Thomas] Anderson and Christopher Nolan are both incredibly intriguing to me because I don't think either of them has yet to make a bad film. Anderson in particular is not making popular fare, just extraordinary, unique pictures. His upcoming film The Master is supposed to delve into Scientology's origins, I can't wait to see it. As far as actors go, I was riveted by Ryan Gosling in Drive. I think he has proven to be more than just a pretty face and I'm excited to see what choices he makes next.
7. What advice would you give to recent intern alumni, current interns, or future interns?
Be social. I made very close friends through the Nation. I'm actually attending the wedding of one of my fellow interns this fall. And I've made so many incredible contacts through Nation people and events. It truly is one the best internships, if not THE best, that I am aware of.