The State Government Communication program (COM 465) operates within today’s shifting communications ecosystem and is now evolving in response. For more than 40 years, the program placed students at traditional journalism outlets to cover public policy and the legislative process from the state Capitol in Olympia. The Journalism and Public Interest Communication program also now is seeking to place students at evidence-based and data-driven outlets and organizations across a wider spectrum of the journalism-communication space—at newspapers and news websites, as well as at the communication shops of government agencies.

COM 465 provides immersive experiences by placing students in paid full-time journalism-communications jobs. Program students gain invaluable training in deadline publishing and public affairs by working alongside professionals who report on and participate in public policy formulation and state government operations. The Department of Communication and Program Director John Tomasic are committed to keeping students well-informed on developments and prepared to participate fully in the program.

This course, formerly known as the Legislative Reporting program, has always placed students in Olympia for the winter quarter, when the Washington state legislature is in session. The program will continue to take place in Olympia during winter quarters.

Please contact Program Director John Tomasic with questions:
Please attend the program information session Friday, October 13. Check back here soon for time and location details.

** The deadline to apply for the 2024 program is midnight, Friday, November 3.**

Long-term benefits for Olympia alumni

Recent COM 465 alumni have gone on to report for daily news outlets that include The Seattle Times, Associated Press, Tacoma News Tribune, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, The Stranger, Washington Post, Puget Sound Business Journal, NBC and international outlets. Others have become staffers with political parties and politicians at all levels of government and others work in nonpartisan government offices. Alumni from the more distant past work at all levels of reporting and management in news outlets around the state, country, and world.

Sample work from recent UW Olympia legislative internsClaudia YawShauna SowersbyLeona VaughnJake Goldstein-StreetJosh KeletyAgatha Pacheco FloresMax WassermanWalker OrensteinCooper InveenIzumi HansenGrace SwansonEnrique Perez de la RosaStarla Sampaco

Who should apply?

Students who have completed most of the UW Journalism and Public Interest Communication sequence, students who report for The Daily, and/or students with freelance or internship experience are encouraged to apply. Published text or audio or video clips are an important component of the application process.

Where might you work?

Students chosen for this capstone experience have been assigned to cover the Washington Legislature for outlets of all kinds. After mandatory training with UW faculty and other news, government and communications professionals, students work directly with an editor or communications director and are supported by the program director. In the recent past, interns have been placed at The Seattle TimesCrosscutNorthwest News NetworkThe News Tribune and The (UW) Daily. A premier UW Olympia partner is the Washington Newspaper Publishers Association (WNPA). Interns for the WNPA report for a network of 110 community news outlets around the state. We are working to expand this list to communication teams within state government agencies and nonprofit organizations.

Students leave the program with a portfolio of published work and professional experience, a deeper understanding of government agencies and processes, and a network of professional contacts inside and outside the journalism-communications industry.

Immersive experience

Applicants must commit to working full time winter quarter and living in Olympia. The program stipend typically has worked out to about $300 per week for 10 weeks.

Equipment and credits

Students will enjoy access to department laptops, cameras, and recorders during their internships paid for by the student technology fee. Students can earn 12 credits for this State Government Communication class.

Application process

To apply, please email all materials listed below in a single PDF to John Tomasic,

  • A 1-2 page letter of application that outlines career goals, journalism training and any other relevant public-interest communication experience.
  • Links to four published clips. Send only clips fully reported and written by the applicant. Co-bylined stories will be considered, but are less desirable for the evaluation process.
  • Be sure any professionally used social media accounts appear on your resume.
  • Academic transcript (unofficial is fine).
  • List of journalism classes taken, including instructor’s name.
  • Names and contact information for two references who can speak about your reporting and writing abilities. It’s best if one is an academic contact and the other a professional contact.
  • Please note: Finalists will be interviewed by the program coordinator and may be asked to complete a writing test.

Watch the video above to learn more about the program and hear about our students’ experiences