In 2009, senior Brendan Schlauch, leadership studies major, is spending his second summer as an intern at Governing magazine. Already he has coauthored more than 20 articles about news and trends that affect local and state government and politics.

Governing is a leading, monthly political magazine covering state and local politics throughout the nation. With an audience of about 80,000, the magazine reaches thousands of elected and appointed officials, town council members, policy directors, campaign managers, and government employees.

As an intern, Schlauch's responsibilities are essentially the same as a staff writer, he said. Every day he spends time reading newspapers, looking for ideas, researching issues, and writing stories. Topics that he has covered range from home owners associations and bankruptcy provisions to recycling and green energy. Whatever the subject, working at a magazine that informs thousands of politicians requires that Schlauch be knowledgeable.

"We need to be an expert about whatever we're writing," he said. "Maybe only for a brief period of time, but we need to know the ins and outs of an issue." He said he spends a lot of his time surfing Lexus-Nexus or on the phone with university professors, specialists, or chiefs of staff.

The magazine is published once a month, so the writers focus less on news and more on trends and features. Schlauch described Governing as a forward-looking magazine, saying that the magazine analyzed the importance of certain issues and what they would mean for the future.

"Some stories are turned in two months before print," said Alan Ehrenhalt, editor of Governing. "We can't chase stories that have already happened. The real issue is not what people want to read tomorrow, but what might they want to read two months from now."

At the end of his sophomore year, two summers ago, Schlauch wasn't looking for an internship in publishing, but the opportunity to work at Governing came through Ehrenhalt. In addition to working as the editor of Governing, Ehrenhalt served as an adjunct professor at Jepson. Schlauch was enrolled in his Modern American Political History course during the fall of 2007, when Ehrenhalt asked him to apply for the internship.

"Brendan's a great writer and was an obvious candidate," Ehrenhalt said. "I knew he'd do well. He may be the best intern we've ever had. In fact, I take it as a compliment that he would want to come back [for a second summer]. When we get someone like Brendan, we put him to work."

Schlauch commutes from his home in Baltimore, Md., to the Washington-based magazine. In today's job market, internships are hard to find. When he had the chance to go back to Governing for a second summer, Schlauch said he was glad for the opportunity. As a leadership studies and political science double major, Schlauch said he hadn't decided what he would do when he finishes at Richmond--maybe law school, maybe writing for a magazine like Governing. "I really enjoy this type of [writing]," he said. "I could see myself doing this, but really, there are so many things I would like to do."

Posted: Summer 2009