Forbes Selects Two Interns for New Partnership with Meadows’ Business Journalism Program

Two SMU journalism students have been awarded summer internships with Forbes Magazine through a new alliance that focuses on diversifying newsrooms.

Meadows students Aysia Lane and Simone Melvin awarded internship with Forbes
Meadows students Aysia Lane and Simone Melvin have been awarded a summer internship with Forbes.

Internships offer students invaluable opportunities to gain experience, make connections, and earn professional examples of their work, which aid them as they navigate their college career and prepare for the job search. To expand these opportunities for Meadows students, the Division of Journalism recently established a partnership with Forbes magazine, creating a dedicated summer internship for SMU journalism students.


This new partnership with Forbes, which prioritizes students from underrepresented groups, was brokered by Jake Batsell, the William J. O’Neil Chair in Business Journalism, and Melissa Chessher, the Belo Foundation Endowed Distinguished Chair in Journalism.


Chessher, who joined SMU in the fall of 2022, created similar partnerships focused on diversifying journalism and media while at Syracuse University’s Newhouse School.


“I knew when I came to SMU that I wanted to create similar opportunities for Meadows students,” Chessher says. “Considering our strong business journalism program, I knew I wanted to start with Forbes because it’s an outstanding publication and because I know the support and attention they give young journalists.”


The partnership offers students who bring a diverse mindset, perspective or background the chance to create a range of content for Forbes, a media company with a century-long history and a global digital audience of more than 140 million readers. To kick off the partnership, two Forbes editors spoke with Batsell’s business journalism class in September and discussed the important role diversity and inclusivity play in the success and sustainability of journalism.


“We are excited about this new partnership with Southern Methodist University’s Division of Journalism, and we look forward to welcoming two talented SMU journalism students into the Forbes newsroom this summer,” says Ali Jackson-Jolley, assistant managing editor at Forbes. “Newsrooms are best when they reflect different backgrounds, voices and points of view. It is only by supporting journalists of color that we can take on the lack of diversity in the media — and more specifically, in the newsroom — that leaves us vulnerable to making decisions while only ever hearing one perspective.”


After a rigorous application and interview process, Forbes editors selected two Meadows students. Aysia Lane, who was a co-director of the award-winning student film #BlackatSMU, will join the video team, and Simone Melvin, who is a podcast editor for SMU’s newspaper The Daily Campus, will join the lifestyle team.


In addition to this Forbes initiative, the Division of Journalism also has a dedicated partnership with The Dallas Morning News, through which four journalism students are selected for internship opportunities during the fall and spring semesters. Both partnerships develop skills that are highly transferrable to a range of professions.


“One thing we emphasize here is that business writing and reporting are valuable skills beyond newsrooms and editorial offices,” says Batsell, who oversees the William J. O’Neil Program in Business Journalism, which includes courses in the Cox School of Business and the Economics Department. “And those skills and abilities translate across a lot of different fields and can differentiate students, helping them earn more competitive salaries.”


In fact, students who do pursue careers in business journalism command higher salaries than their peers — a recent national survey found that U.S. business reporters make 37% more than the median industry wage. SMU’s O’Neil Program helps students develop that coveted skill set, training them to report and write in a way that makes financial terminology understandable and relatable to general audiences.


Batsell and Chessher said the alliance with Forbes serves as the first of what they hope will be many national partnerships for the division and for the O’Neil Program as it grows, leveraging North Texas’ status as an economic powerhouse and a top-five media market.


To learn more about the Division of Journalism at SMU Meadows, click here. To learn more about the O’Neil Program in Business Journalism, click here.