Sam Zern
Journalist
(512) 660-3270
Northeast Ohio
Skills
AP Style
Audio Editing

Programs: Hindenburg, Audacity

FOIA/Public Records
PACER & Legal Coverage
Statistics & Data Analysis
Adobe Illustrator
Adobe Indesign
Maps & Infographics
Photography
Wordpress
Canva
Social Media
Education
Bachelor of Science – Education Policy & Sociology
Vanderbilt University2016 - 2020
Journalism Experience
State Government Reporter
The PLS ReporterAug. 2020 - June 2021
  • Produced daily coverage of the Pennsylvania General Assembly, including reporting on active legislation, policy implications, personnel news and more
  • Wrote the most read story in the publication’s history, detailing the pandemic reopening plans of all 500 Pennsylvania school districts
  • Wrote and co-hosted the weekly policy podcast, Right 2 Know
  • Joined the Pennsylvania Cable News show Journalists Roundtable to discuss top legislative news


Chalkbeat Detroit Internship offer accepted. Canceled due to COVID-19
Chalkbeat DetroitSummer 2020



Podcast Intern, Freelance Factchecker
WPLN, Nashville Public RadioJan. 2020 - April 2020
  • Gathered archival sound, student achievement data, legal filings, financial records and more for season two of The Promise, a Peabody award winning podcast exploring the persistent segregation in Nashville schools
  • Prepared newscast content for morning and afternoon newscasts, and reported original radio and website stories covering the devastating Nashville tornado and the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Reported on of the most popular episodes of the Curious Nashville podcast with more than 39,000 downloads, answering the question of what happened to a beloved rotating restaurant in the city
  • Served as an independent fact checker for The Promise


Managing Editor, Editor in Chief, News Editor, Assistant News Editor
The Vanderbilt HustlerAug. 2016 - Dec. 2019
  • Trained, edited and individually coached 100+ writers and editors in producing content that reached an average 20,000 readers per week
  • Reported stories on beats including campus diversity efforts, administrative policy and decisions, discriminatory incidents and student activism
  • Led a website redesign aimed at improving reader experience and editorial efficiency
  • Overhauled training process and created organizational onboarding materials and to address diversity & inclusion in recruitment, as well as journalistic ethics and advanced writing techniques


Reporting Intern
Nashville PostJune 2019 - Aug. 2019
  • Reported local legal, business and political news for the publication’s website
  • Wrote a feature-length article on Nashville’s emerging esports market for the quarterly magazine


Education Reporter
Austin MonitorJuly 2018 - Aug. 2018
  • Covered the Austin Independent School District, writing about issues including under-enrollment, budget deficits and statewide achievement goals


Other Work Experience
Podcast Production Assistant
Relationary MarketingSept. 2019 - Nov. 2019
  • Ran studio sessions with podcast clients, including screening audio clips and episode drafts
  • Managed production for live podcasting events


Podcast Intern
Nashville Entrepreneur CenterAug. 2019 - Dec. 2019
  • Wrote and published content for the Entrepreneur Center blog and social media channels
  • Served as podcast production assistant, gathering interview subjects and screening audio
  • Created a year-end impact report for season one of the podcast Navigate, which included audience metrics and recommendations for season two improvements


Documentary Curriculum Writer
A Greater Society (film)June 2018 - Aug. 2018
  • Wrote and edited a companion discussion guide and curriculum for the independent documentary A Greater Society, which explores senior citizen voter turnout during the 2014 midterm elections


Undergraduate Intern
Tennessee State Collaborative on Reforming EducationJan. 2018 - May 2018
  • Advised during early planning stages for the Project LIT Summit, a project by a SCORE Fellow teacher to promote literacy and diverse books in schools
  • Coordinated admission for the 2018 Tennessee Gubernatorial Forum on Education
  • Assisted in day to day office operations and event preparation, provided feedback on ongoing educator engagement initiatives and wrote for the blog


Nonprofit Management Intern
Common ThreadsMay 2017 - Aug. 2017
  • Compiled 15 years of historical data, including yearly financials, annual reach and company milestones into comprehensive company history presentation and video with infographic elements
  • Coordinated with offices in Chicago, Los Angeles, New York and Miami to complete tasks related to facilities upgrades, grant research and donor management


Summer Teaching Fellow
Breakthrough Central Texas (Americorps Program)June 2015 - Aug. 2015
  • Designed and taught Earth science curriculum to class of 18 rising sixth graders, all of whom will be first generation college students, in Central Texas
  • Provided students with summer programming that combined academic acceleration with resilience building and goal orientation
  • Addressed social-emotional needs of at-risk students with a team of co-teachers and collaborated with parents to best meet their child’s needs