Trial by Fire

Posted by admin on June 12, 2013
Summer 2013

Hi! I’m Nicholle (pronounced Nicole, but my friends call me Cholley). I will be a senior in the fall, but this summer I am running around New York City as an intern for the New York Daily News. As a journalism major, and the girl who created her 5th grade class newspaper titled The Buckley News, this internship has always been a dream of mine. Ideally I want to write, but for now I am being ignored by city goers who don’t want to talk to a young reporter about the new teacher evaluation system or why more people are failing their driving test.

I started last week. With this week only being my second, you’d think I am still meeting people in the office and learning the system. Nope. Day one, I was sent to Brooklyn. Keep in mind I have lived in a suburb outside of Boston my whole life. I don’t know the NYC subway system. I don’t really know anything about NYC. But, in the real world there is no hand-holding or syllabi to follow. I was thrown to the wolves!

I’m not admitting that at the end of the day I cried, relieved to be home, and was in bed by 8…but it wasn’t my best day. The week slowly got much, much better. Luckily for me, there’s an app called HopStop that has literally saved my life telling me what train to take, how many stops to pass, and where to transfer.

Tuesday I sat in on the jury selection for the 2010 Sylvie Cachay murder trial. 33-year-old Cachay was found dead in her hotel room bathtub on December 9, 2010. The alleged murderer: her boyfriend, Nicholas Brooks. I was actually sitting in the courtroom and he was only feet away. I was a few rows in front of Cachay’s parents. Her mother even spoke to me. I guess the jury selection is the only time the jurors information is in public record until after the trial, so I had to write everything down from where they went to school and what they do for work, to who their partner was and what they do for work.

On Wednesday I was on a stakeout. I can’t believe I can even say that. I’m 21 years old and I’ve been on a real stakeout. Well, I wasn’t waiting to catch someone during a sting operation, but it was still cool. I was sitting outside the apartment building of 17-year-old Franklin Reyes. The morning before, he panicked when police pulled him over because he was unlicensed. When he fled, he struck and killed 4-year-old Ariel Russo when she was walking to school with her grandmother. The grandmother is still in the hospital. His family never showed up but we talked to plenty of neighbors to get a sense into what kind of person he is. Unfortunately, “he’s a good kid.”

On Thursday I went to little Ariel’s school in the upper West Side. I was able to speak to the principal, assistant principal and her gym teacher. I saw a few of her classmates who were just adorable. Being only four years old I don’t think they really understood what happened. The principal told me they told the students that now Ariel is hugged by God. Across from the school and right where she was killed, was a memorial of balloons, flowers, stuffed animals, candles and cards. People stopped by throughout the day to pay their respects or to ask what happened. It was a hard assignment to cover.

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On Friday, I went to the apartment building of a man who attempted suicide in Rockefeller Center. His family surprisingly invited me in to their apartment but didn’t speak English so I didn’t get very far. I went to the Midtown North precinct after to speak with some detectives.

And that was my first week interning at the Daily News. Did you know the News is one of the most widely-circulated daily newspaper in the nation? The quotes I got from people at Ariel’s school were used in a story published on the website and I was in the byline! My name was printed in the actual paper on Saturday because I helped on something called “The Inquiring Photographer.” Of course I bought myself a copy.

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When the weekend came, I finally realized why my parents hate Mondays, and why they just want to hang out and relax, not drive me all over the world. I went to bed before 9 p.m. every night. I was simply exhausted. I cannot imagine doing this “real world” thing while raising children.

So my first day may have been a whirlwind of overwhelming nerves and emotions, but as of now I sort of have a sense of where to go and what to do. Week 1 done, 9 to go! Who knows where the rest of this internship will take me. Stay tuned!

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