Say hello to four talented young journalists who have joined Civil Beat’s staff for the summer.

We’re excited to be able to offer a number of paid positions this year to promising reporters and writers who have either recently graduated or will be going back to college in the fall. Hawaii is always such a great place to be a journalist and this summer is especially busy with election season in full swing, the coronavirus still an issue and tourists returning in higher numbers than we’ve seen in awhile even as the economy stumbles from inflation and supply shortages. We’re happy to have the extra help.

Despite the tumultuous times, these young writers all have a passion for the community and the issues they are covering and a real desire to help make the world a better place through their ability to write and communicate important information to people.

You’ve already started seeing the work these four reporters are producing but we wanted to tell you a little bit more about each of them:

Civil Beat interns
From left to right, Ben Angarone, Megan Tagami, Keona Blanks and Alicia Lou. Kim Gamel/Civil Beat/2022

Alicia Lou

Alicia graduated in May from the University of Hawaii with a degree in journalism. She was one of more than a dozen UH journalism students who spent their days at the Legislature this past session as part of a partnership with Civil Beat, Ka Leo O Hawaii — the UH newspaper — and the journalism program.

Alicia Lou 

Alicia is a dive instructor and has lived and worked on boats, which fits well with her passion for marine life and sustainability. One of her last class projects was this in-depth look at Sea Life Park and the treatment of marine animals there which we published earlier this month soon after she started her internship.

“I like collecting stories, I like knowing why things are the way they are and I want to make a difference,” Alicia says. “I think people deserve to know what’s going on.”

She’s also written about justice, another issue that’s important to her, in reporting on why the trial for two people charged with murder in the death of a North Shore woman has been delayed for five years.

Alicia is hoping to write about a variety of things this summer and she especially likes getting out into the community and hearing what people have to say.

Megan Tagami

Megan will be a senior at UCLA this coming fall, where she’s majoring in political science and public affairs. She grew up in Honolulu and is particularly interested in education reporting, thanks in large part to the fact that her mom is a longtime teacher.

“I like telling people’s stories and doing it here in Hawaii because it’s where I grew up and it’s about issues I’m familiar with and communities I care about,” she says.

Civil Beat Megan Tagami Portrait
Megan Tagami 

Megan says she started reading Civil Beat when she first got into journalism “and it made a real impact on me.”

“I wanted to go in depth on issues” and she’s hoping to do that here. One of her first stories was a deeper look into Oahu’s juvenile correctional facility, which for the first time in years has no girls in detention.

Megan says she’s still considering what sort of journalism she wants to specialize in when she’s firmly planted in her career. But she wants to come back home and make a difference in Hawaii.

Her internship is in conjunction with the Society of Professional Journalists Hawaii chapter’s summer intern program that helps place students with Hawaii-based news organizations.

Keona Blanks

Keona will be a junior at Stanford University in the fall where she’s majoring in Earth Systems. She grew up in Ewa Beach and graduated from James Campbell High School, where she worked on the student newspaper, fostering her interest in writing and journalism.

Keona is pioneering a different kind of internship for us this summer — she’s working as an editorial and opinion writer for our IDEAS section. It’s a journalism specialty she got a taste of at Campbell, where she wrote editorials for the school paper.

Keona Blanks
Keona Blanks 

Keona’s interests tend more toward science and environmental issues, particularly climate change, but she says she’s intrigued by science communication — or the lack of it — and the fact that there is a lot of misinformation when it comes to the environment.

“I’ve had a passion for writing since high school and I appreciated news sources growing up in Hawaii as a way to stay involved,” she says.

Editorial writing is a way to help guide people on an issue. “I see it as advocating for the public,” she says.

Ben Angarone

Ben Angarone received his master’s degree earlier this year from Columbia University’s journalism program. He has a bachelor’s degree from Princeton, where he majored in political science.

He’s new to Hawaii but is learning quickly through his assignment to help cover the 2022 elections. He received a good introduction to Hawaii issues and politics through his coverage of the Senate District 11 race.

Ben Angarone.
Ben Angarone 

“Journalism is cool because it’s a way to learn about the world and get paid for it,” Ben says. “And I like asking questions.”

Ben says it’s been interesting to get immersed in political issues that are so different from those on the mainland and to watch how they’re playing out in the campaigns. He’s still a little surprised — but happy — that political and government leaders have proved to be very easy to talk to and that everyone gets to wear aloha shirts and slippers.

“Politics, like journalism, is a good way to learn about the world,” he says.

You can read more about these four emerging journalists in their bios on our About Us page. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to them with story ideas. As they say, it takes a village to raise a new reporter.

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