This May, I graduated from the College of Charleston. Two weeks later, my apartment was in boxes, I was saying goodbye to all my friends, and to the South. The next thing I knew, I was on a plane with my mom with a boarding pass that said Boston, Massachusetts.
I had never been to Boston before, but had heard many things about the city, such as that the winters are beyond brutal, the men are not southern gentlemen, and a hot summer day is 68 degrees. But besides all that, I couldn’t wait to jump in and test the waters because I had received the internship of a lifetime: CAMERA, The Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America, had hired me to be their summer intern. CAMERA is a media monitoring, research, and membership organization devoted to promoting accurate and balanced coverage of Israel and the Middle East.
On my first day of the internship I felt like a mom feels on her first day of bringing her child to school. Maybe this was because my mom dropped me off. I was scared, nervous, excited, and overwhelmed. All of those feelings quickly vanished once I met the wonderful staff. They immediately opened their arms to me and made me feel like family and at home as best as they could. The only feeling I had left was excitement. Excited to get to work!
During my internship, I learned how to spot inaccurate information in the media about the Middle East, write articles, and write biographies of controversial figures in order to help students know who is a reliable speaker. I learned how to edit the Camera on Campus website (something I have never done before nor wasn too good at in the beginning). As time moved on and with more practice, I was able to add photos to the website, edit layouts, and add links to various tabs. I learned how to write film reviews for Israeli films, update spreadsheets, and expanded my knowledge in social media.
I was introduced to Google docs, spreadsheets and more for our student conference, which took place August 18-20th. I had been helping prepare for this conference since day one. My fellow interns and I packed up 53 swag bags to give to the students with various reading and working material for them to bring back to campus, filled 53 poster tubes for them to hang at their Israel events on campus, and last but not least, binders filled with information.
Sporadically, throughout the days and weeks leading up to the conference, I was handed all types of information about these students, including but not limited to their arrival and departure times, what school they go to, any specific allergies they had, etc. Every day I learned more and grew more of a small bond to these students who I had never met. The conference was an incredible experience, and I look forward to staying in touch with the many students that I met there.
There were many challenges in moving to a new city. Knowing I was helping media accuracy and promoting Israel’s achievements, as well as the importance of defending Israel, helped me strive on. CAMERA became my safety place, my new friends and my new family. Thank you, CAMERA, for the most amazing summer and internship. From learning from Twitter software engineer, Danny Hertz about how to accurately and effectively talk about Israel and the news via social media to discussing how important it is to continue to promote Israel accurately, I have so many things to take away from this internship that will help me in my future!
Contributed by CAMERA Intern Leeron Ofer