Civil Beat has offered four paid positions to recent graduates from the University of Hawaii and Columbia Journalism School.

Loyal readers may have noticed new bylines on stories in recent weeks. Those are the names of our four new interns who are spending the summer at Civil Beat.

It’s a longstanding tradition in journalism to offer promising reporters who are just starting their careers an opportunity to practice the craft in a functioning newsroom. 

We’re excited to offer four paid positions this year to recent journalism program graduates. They’ll spend about three months reporting and writing about Hawaii. Of course, it’s not entirely selfless on our part. We can use the help as it’s a busy time of year in the islands.

Civil Beat senior reporter intern coordinator Stewart Yerton summer interns Alex Eichenstein Jake Indursky Allan Kew Victoria Budiono journalists journalism students
Civil Beat interns from left: Alex Eichenstein, Jake Indursky, Allan Kew and Victoria Budiono will spend the summer reporting on issues that affect Hawaii. (Kevin Fujii/Civil Beat/2023)

The first part of Honolulu’s new rail line opened to the public with much fanfare last week after years of delays, and we’ll be watching how that develops. The housing crisis shows no signs of abating. And Covid-19 relief is largely a thing of the past, removing a safety net for many island residents.

What else is going on? You tell us. We’re always in the market for ideas.

The interns have already produced several stories ranging from rising evictions, gun permit applications, ocean safety and a BYU mural. Here’s some information about the interns themselves so you can get to know them better.

Victoria Budiono

Victoria graduated from the University of Hawaii in May with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and psychology. She’s originally from Jakarta, Indonesia, but had visited her grandmother who lived in Hawaii so it seemed a good fit to come here for college.

Honolulu Civil Beat intern Victoria Budiono SJP
Honolulu Civil Beat intern Victoria Budiono recently graduated from the University of Hawaii. (Kevin Fujii/Civil Beat/2023)

She became interested in journalism while writing for her high school newspaper in Indonesia, where she got a taste of efforts to curtail freedom of the press. She tried to write about problems at the school but was told by the principal that such topics were off limits.

While at UH, she received the $1,500 Carol Burnett Award for Responsible Journalism, which recognizes high ethical standards in the field.

“I was really proud of that because that’s the type of journalist that I want to be,” she says.

Victoria also helped us report on the Legislature this year as part of UH Beat, a joint program we do with the UH journalism program.

She did a double major because she’s interested in psychology but decided she could reach more people with journalism. “Psychology is helping one person at a time, but with journalism you can spread the word and make everyone fix their own problems,” she says.

Victoria is looking to continue her reporting on social issues such as homelessness, mental health concerns and housing.

“There’s a lot of stuff that needs to be done, and I want to be part of the solutions aspect,” she says.

Jake Indursky

Jake is originally from Westwood, Massachusetts, outside of Boston, but he has been living in New York City for the last eight years. 

Jake Indursky intern headshot mugshot portrait
Honolulu Civil Beat intern Jake Indursky is interested in local politics. (Kevin Fujii/Civil Beat/2023)

“I got interested in local politics there and realized that journalism is an important piece of making local politics work,” he says. “There’s a lot that happens that needs to be reported and isn’t.”

Jake graduated with a master’s degree from the Columbia School of Journalism in May.

He already has a strong connection to Hawaii as several family members live, or have lived, in the islands.

He hopes to take his journalism to a higher level while reporting at Civil Beat. He’s interested in the intersection of politics, development and business. 

“When I went to school I had an image of the kind of journalism I wanted to be doing, which is covering local politics in a community and being in the community,” he says. “Looking at what Civil Beat does it’s exactly that. So it felt like a really good fit.”

“Also getting to come to a new city and an island was an opportunity that was hard to say no to.,” he adds.

Jake is enjoying the change of pace on the island compared with New York City and he’s making new friends. He’s also learning how to surf and on the lookout for places to play basketball.

“The biggest thing for me is being able to do some stories I’m really proud of, that speak to a real issue or something that’s really happening in the community now,” he says.

Alex Eichenstein

Alex, originally from Long Island, New York, graduated in May with a master’s degree from the Columbia School of Journalism. She got her bachelor’s degree from the University of Delaware.

Alex Eichenstein intern headshot mugshot portrait
Columbia Journalism School graduate Alex Eichenstein traveled to Honolulu for her Civil Beat internship. (Kevin Fujii/Civil Beat/2023)

She initially expected to report on arts and culture but ended up doing more investigative and health care reporting. 

Before going to journalism school, Alex worked in newsrooms such as the Center for Public Integrity, a nonprofit investigative news organization, as well as the tech-focused website Protocol, which closed last year.

Alex also did film production internships but has landed on journalism as a primary interest.

“I’m inherently curious and just always asking questions about people and authorities,” she says.

Alex is interested in reporting on health care including mental health and other issues while at Civil Beat. She’s excited about writing for the nonprofit news organization in part because of its dedicated local readership.

“I wanted to be writing for people who are actually affected by the things we’re writing about,” she says.

Alex is enjoying her time in Hawaii so far and spending a lot of time at the beach.

Allan Kew

Allan was born in Minneapolis but grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area. He was on track to go into government relations and immigration law while working in Washington, D.C., after graduating from UCLA. But then the pandemic hit in early 2020.

Allan Kew intern headshot mugshot portrait
Honolulu Civil Beat intern Allan Kew switched his focus from government relations and immigration to journalism. (Kevin Fujii/Civil Beat/2023)

“With the pandemic I was reassessing my priorities and whatnot. I’ve always loved to write … so I decided to go to journalism school. And it has been a good blend of the enjoyment of writing but also just satisfying the innate curiosity I have,” he says. 

Allan got his master’s in journalism in May from Columbia University, where he focused on narrative writing, with pieces about the canner community in Brooklyn and the psychedelic health community in Brooklyn and Manhattan.

He came to Hawaii for a vacation during the pandemic and “was instantly smitten” so it’s not surprising he ended up doing an internship at Civil Beat. He also had professional reasons for the choice.

“I really enjoyed the fact that Civil Beat takes the time to invest in investigative reporting,” he says. “We go a step deeper when it comes to reporting and getting to the heart of the matter rather than just surface-level stuff.”

He’s interested in reporting on a variety of different things, ranging from economic issues to historical preservation work in the islands.

During his time off, Allan is immersing himself in island life and “having a good time exploring with my camera” as an amateur photographer. He’s also learning how to surf and hoping to do some deep-sea fishing. 

Allan won a Pulitzer Traveling Fellowship while at Columbia, which includes a $7,500 grant to travel somewhere and do a story. He’s still trying to figure out how he will use that.

Help power our public service journalism

As a local newsroom, Civil Beat has a unique public service role in times of crisis.

That’s why we’re committed to a paywall-free website and subscription-free content, so we can get vital information out to everyone, from all communities.

We are deploying a significant amount of our resources to covering the Maui fires, and your support ensures that we can pivot when these types of emergencies arise.

Make a gift to Civil Beat today and help power our nonprofit newsroom.

About the Author