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Even though she is just a first-year student, Hong Ha Vu ’17 (Hanoi, Vietnam) got an in-depth look at a possible career field during a week-long externship hosted by Robert Bliwise ’76, assistant vice president for alumni affairs at Duke University and editor of Duke Magazine.

Robert Bliwise ’76 goes through proofs of Duke Magazine with Hong Ha Vu ’17.

Robert Bliwise ’76 goes through proofs of Duke Magazine with Hong Ha Vu ’17. Photo by Megan Morr

Vu is considering a career in media, possibly journalism or film and broadcasting.  She arrived at the perfect time, as the magazine staff was finalizing the spring issue and brainstorming for the summer one.

“I was fortunate enough to witness the process from start to finish, from contact with freelance writers, exploratory interviews with people who could provide information, a lot of editing, proofing, and layout, and cover picking,” says Vu. “I learned a lot about the industry, including advertising, collaboration, design, and content.”

Vu researched and sat in on an interview for an online-learning story, joined a meeting of senior Duke communicators as they discussed upcoming stories, watched Bliwise edit stories submitted for publication, sat in on a magazine journalism seminar session, and participated in a planning retreat involving the editorial staff of Duke Magazine along with editorial colleagues at three other universities.

Vu, who is planning to major in anthropology & sociology and film & media studies, says her time shadowing Bliwise has shed light on the prospect of a career in print journalism.

“He was very passionate about his work and always encouraging me to ask more questions and experience more,” she says. “I am definitely considering journalism more seriously.”

An international affairs graduate, Bliwise got his start in journalism serving as editor of The Lafayette student newspaper. He became founding editor of Duke Magazine in 1983.

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