MU Journalism Student Spends Summer Interning at National Geographic

Joey Fening
Joey Fening

MU senior Joey Fening spent last summer in Washington D.C., working in what National Geographic staffers call the “Intern Cave.” The experience was part of Fening’s time as an art research intern for National Geographic.

“The environment, the people, they were great and very supportive,” Fening says.

Fening assisted with finding data for various projects and worked with shape-files to populate maps. He also had the opportunity to write the accompanying text for a few graphics. After taking an infographic class at MU, he felt prepared for this opportunity.

During his time at National Geographic, Fening worked on an extensive Tour de France interactive graphic that archived all the racers and their respective countries dating back to the first race in 1903. He helped proofread graphics and discovered that among the approximately 14,000 results, there were many errors.

He also encountered racers who shared the same last name causing them to be counted once instead of twice as separate racers.

“I noticed one guy raced in 1954 and then in 1996,” Fening says. “That’s not possible. We had to comb through a lot of it to make sure everything was right,”

Employing his investigative skills was just part of his duties at National Geographic. Fening also interviewed experts to collect data for specialty projects and sat in on layout meetings.

“Being in that environment you get a certain confidence and I’ve carried that with me,” Fening says.

A dual major in magazine writing and international studies with an emphasis in East Asian studies, he is a communications student assistant in the MU Office of Undergraduate Research. His ultimate career goal is to be an international reporter.

His experience at National Geographic is certainly a good start.