Ask and you [may] receive

The past few weeks, I’ve learned about the benefits of being proactive on the job. Working in the newsroom grants plenty of opportunities to brainstorm and jump in on stories big or small—it just depends on you to take advantage.

This week, one of the editors sent out an email on the newsroom group email system with an opportunity to write about the King Tut exhibit in Seattle (travel required). After a few moments of consideration, I decided to go for it. My email reply went something like this: “I’m interested! But I’m not sure that’s in my jurisdiction as an intern…” With a deep breath, I hit “send.”

The editor promptly replied back that unfortunately someone else had volunteered first. He didn’t say that I was out of line to volunteer to write a bigger story (outside my department, even); he just had a simple reply. I realized at that point that when I volunteer for something potentially out of my reach, the worst that will happen is they will say no. The best that could happen is I get a yes and have a great opportunity. The way I see it, the benefits outweigh the risk of being told I can’t do something.

Catch you next time, King Tut. (Photo courtesy of National Geographic, via

Although I don’t get to write about “The Golden King” (which would have been awesome), I definitely don’t regret putting myself out there. I think I’m now on the editor’s radar as someone interested in writing bigger stories. If I volunteer for opportunities like this enough times, maybe one day he’ll choose me! You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take, right?

For now, I’ll just entertain myself with Steve Martin’s King Tut skit from Saturday Night Live.

Allie Gavette

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12 Responses to Ask and you [may] receive

  1. Alysha Beck says:

    It would have been so cool if you were able to report on the King Tut exhibit! But it definitely takes some guts to volunteer for such an assignment. I’m sure you would have gotten the chance if you had replied first. I think you have to be willing to put yourself out there as an intern. Hopefully next time you will get the chance to take on a big story and will produce something amazing, which will really prove how valuable you are as a reporter. Way to go!

  2. I’m really impressed with your confidence! it must’ve been difficult to decide to go for it even though you knew there was a chance you would’ve been out of line. I hope by the end of your internship you are able to write those bigger stories. It always feels so good to have one of those assignments that you know plays a bigger role in the team. But remember “With great power comes great responsibility.” haha

  3. Great post! I’m sure we can all identify with being unsure whether we, as interns, should volunteer or ask for assignments that we’re not quite sure is something we can do. But you’re totally right about the worst thing happening is being told no. That’s something we should all keep in our heads all day long at our internships and remind ourselves when an opportunity arises and we are unsure weather to go for it or not. I personally know that I’ll have to embrace your philosophy a bit more if I’m going to get out as much as possible from my internship.
    Also, great SNL skit.

  4. zolfaghari says:

    Great attitude! You nailed it on the head with the quote you used at the end of your post. It’s true that we don’t get anywhere by not taking “shots, or chances. These internships are a great opportunity for us to take risks that we may not be able to when we’re older. I think it’s good that you took that chance, regardless of the outcome. Keep trying in the future, things will be in your favor eventually!

  5. I love your confidence. The more and more you & I chat about it- the greater your internship sounds. You definitely do miss 100% of the shots you don’t take and you’re right- the worst answer they can give you is no, and life goes on! But the fact you’re willing to step up to the plate and volunteer for something as big as that shows HUGE initiative to your supervisors and that’s something that will resonate with them for future projects- potentially past graduation (Eh? Eh? Fingers crossed!).

    Great job, Allie, and keep up the good work!

  6. asharonson says:

    That great that you are jumping in and asking for great opportunities. You’re right, the worst that they can do is say, “no”. Other than that, there is no reason not to ask, it shows that you are interested and you like what you do! Too bad you didn’t get to go the the exhibit, that would have been amazing. I’m sure you have plenty of other amazing opportunities coming your way!

  7. Allie, way to be bold! Expressing interest and being willing to go the extra mile or think outside the box will get you noticed. It’s a tough market for us writers, so the more ways we can find to stand out the better. Getting my internship down here felt like going way out on a limb. I couldn’t imagine I was actually going to get it, but you never know until you try. I hope you get a piece of the action next time you volunteer for a story. – Anneka

  8. Allyson Will says:

    Great post! You should be really proud of yourself for volunteering to do the King Tut story. I bet it really surprised your editor that you would volunteer (in a good way). Next time there is a story that no one has been assigned hopefully your editor will think of you first! Definitely keep knocking on the door of opportunity. I know it will work out for you soon! Congrats!

  9. wilsonemily says:

    This is an awesome post and a great window into life as an intern. You’re not always sure what’s in your reach, but it never hurts to try and the worst that could happen is that your editor says no. It’s a bummer about not being able to go to the King Tut exhibit, but I’m sure that you’re now on your editor’s list for more awesome opportunities ahead, and who knows? Maybe you’ll score free tickets to another awesome show soon!

    Emily Wilson

  10. pdxsx says:

    Good insight and advice, Allie. It never hurts to ask!

  11. Love that SNL skit, such a classic! I really liked that you took this blog post to talk about a missed opportunity that turned into a lesson learned, it was refreshing to read. It is unfortunate that you were unable to cover The Gold King, because that exhibit just looks amazing! At least you were aggressive and tried for it. I think it’s better be a little over aggressive and reach for things than be passive and not try. Hopefully another opportunity will show up in your inbox and you’ll be able to get it!

  12. rkaapu says:

    What a great post! I struggle in life with a fear of rejection and 75% of the time I muster up the courage to ask for more or put in my suggestions but I think it is important to really offer your skills, even if you get rejected. Not to sound corny, but this was inspiring, you saw something you wanted to do and though it may have seemed beyond your level you tried. Thanks for posting this!

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