The amazing eight are stars in this newsroom
Jesse McLean walked carefully through the makeshift operating room, a blue tarp erected over a parking lot in Port-au-Prince, and witnessed an unlikely thing.
He watched a leg amputation performed by doctors working in primitive conditions.
Children lost limbs that day, sliced off without so much as an aspirin. In the days following the Jan. 12 earthquake, there was no anesthetic in most of Haiti and doctors either amputated or let youngsters die an agonizing death.
Jesse McLean is 22.
Before last September he had never worked full time for a newspaper. He had done a string of short term contracts while he finished his studies in the Ryerson journalism program. But in September he began work as an intern in the Toronto Star one-year journalism program.
Just a day after Haiti was smacked by a 7.0 quake, McLean was dispatched to the scene as one of the first journalists to cover the story.
"At that point, I don't think any of us had any idea how devastating the earthquake had been. We didn't know what we were rushing into," he said. "Once I reached Port-au-Prince and saw the destruction, the death, it became clear how big the tragedy was -- and how important it was to cover it, and cover it well."
McLean works in the Toronto Star one-year intern program but he and his seven colleagues in the program are anything but rookies.
The one-year interns have been around. They've been writers and editors from Dublin to Tegucigalpa to Mumbai.
In past lives, some have been magazine writers or designers or aspiring photographers.
But once a month they break from the rough and tumble to take a longer view of their craft as part of the program's training.
Sometimes that means a walking tour of a 10-block area of downtown Toronto with Chris Hume, the Star's popular urban issues and architecture columnist.
Or they spend half a day sorting the mountains of presents collected for distribution by the Star's Santa Claus Fund. The chores give them an up-close-and-personal look at Joe Atkinson's living legacy.
And always they spend an hour or two with a senior writer or editor and talk shop over a coffee and a couple of pieces of their work.
This month they spent time with Jason Chiu and Kenyon Wallace, graduates of last year's intern program. Chiu and Wallace were nominated March 15 for prestigious National Newspaper Awards for work they did last year. They talked to the interns about the future and encouraged them to keep on keeping on.
Top photo, Star columnist Chris Hume talks with his hands while intern editor Lauren Crothers listens.
Bottom: Globe designer Jason Chiu and National Post reporter Kenyon Wallace are former Star one-year interns.