Mason senior who interned with CNN strives to make a difference in political journalism

Senior Nathan Crawford helped produce stories that aired on more than 1,100 CNN affiliate news stations in the United States and internationally at his summer internship. Photo provided.

There’s a missing part in most political conversations, and Nathan Crawford, a senior at George Mason University, hopes to help fix that.

“A lot of the talk around politics is the divisiveness, not the possibility to bring the country together,” said Crawford, a communication major concentrating in journalism and media production and criticism. “If we combine the two ideas of the parties, that’s how we’re actually going to help people and move the country forward.”

Crawford, an Honors College student from Georgia, said he has been captivated by politics and broadcast journalism since he was 10. He said his dream is to work on air or behind the scenes for a national news organization, covering politics in a way that promotes mutual collaboration instead of heated battles.

Since coming to Mason, Crawford has gotten closer to that dream, including working as an intern with CNN Newsource last summer.

Through the internship, Crawford helped produce stories that aired on more than 1,100 CNN affiliate news stations in the United States and internationally, he said. He learned how journalists did live reporting and packaged news differently around the world. Highlights included interviewing former FBI and CIA director William Webster during a World War II memorial event on the National Mall, and standing with the press on Capitol Hill for the Mueller hearing.

Senior Nathan Crawford during his CNN internship. Photo provided.

The aspiring journalist first heard about Mason in 2015, when he attended the Washington Journalism and Media Conference hosted annually by the university. When it came time to apply to college, Mason stood out due to its quality communication program and its location near the heart of U.S. politics, Crawford said.

“[My coursework] combines journalism, which is a lot of writing, with production, which is very hands-on,” Crawford said. “[It’s] something nice that I don’t think I would have gotten if I went to a university that only offered a broadcast major.”

Learning from experienced professionals has made his time at Mason worthwhile, he said.

“[Professor Kate Sweeney] brings a lot of experience into the classroom,” Crawford said, noting that she has worked for news organizations in the United States and the Middle East, as well as at the Smithsonian Institution and National Geographic. “To have someone who is fun to be around, but also someone who has that experience, it’s a really good combination that I think is important in the classroom.”

Crawford is active on campus as the president of Mason Ambassadors, a group that gives campus tours. He’s also the social media intern for Mason Admissions and the assistant community director in Presidents Park, where he helps oversee a staff of resident advisors.

Working with prospective and current students and their families has helped Crawford further hone his communication skills.

“A lot of young journalists have the technical know-how to craft great stories, but Nathan stands out from the pack due to his gracious approach to others,” Sweeney said. “He’s quick to foster relationships with those around him. He’s a perceptive listener who shares his ideas with thoughtful consideration for others’ experiences.”

As for Crawford’s goal of promoting ethical journalism and collaborative politics?

“Nathan is the kind of young journalist who will help restore the public’s confidence in the purpose and practice of journalism,” Sweeney said.