Ryan Dilello ’21 is interning this summer with Rhode Island Public Radio. Here he talks about what he’s doing, what he’s learned, and the joys of storytelling.
What are you doing in your internship with Rhode Island Public Radio?
I’m interning in the newsroom, and that basically means I’m balancing daily news, mainly focused on COVID-19 updates — so, what the governor has to say and the Department of Health. That’s pretty quick turnaround stuff.
I’m [also] focusing on some longer stories. Right now, I’m doing a story on how minority-owned businesses, particularly Black-owned businesses, are being disproportionately affected by all this. So, I’m going around talking to businessowners, making some calls to nonprofits to get a better picture.
Another cool thing that I’m most excited about is that I’m starting up a music page for local musicians — so, talking to musicians and trying to get them some spotlight. I’m optimistic about how that’ll turn out.
Hometown: Providence, RI
High school: Classical High School
Why did you apply to this internship?
Selfishly, it’s kind of cool to hear your voice on the radio. I applied because I like NPR, and I listen to it a lot. I think it’s just good news, and they tend to be more creative with it than a lot of other daily news-oriented station approaches. And I like writing. It’s a lot of storytelling and forming a connection with listeners. There’s a lot of cool novelties to radio that I’ve come to really like and didn’t know about when I first started.
Have you learned any new skills?
I think a lot of it is learning how to write. I’m a philosophy major, and I think the writing in philosophy tends to be pretty lenient … Radio news is [like] tell me the facts and tell me in concise writing. That’s been really helpful, and I’ve found that it improves my writing for school a lot. And then it’s just the people skills, boosting my communication skills.
How has the experience been overall?
It’s been really great. One thing that I tell people about the station is that we have three different generations working [here]. We have two people from very old Rhode Island journalism that are well-known, both in their late 70s or 80s, and then we have a middle generation, and then we have a generation that’s closer to my age. It’s been so cool to talk about these political issues and health issues across generations. We’re getting a microcosm of inner-generational debate in the virtual newsroom.
What on-campus extracurriculars are you involved in?
I DJed for WHCL a few semesters and have served on their e-board and am hoping to get back in that before I graduate. I started last semester working for the long-term investigative journalism team for The Spec. It ended a little ambiguously, so hoping to get more concrete stuff done next semester. And every once in a while, I’ll write for The Wattage.
Is there anything else that you’d like to add?
I noticed that the stuff we talk about in the classroom is literally carrying over into this job.