Wright Gets to Bottom of Mt. Rushmore Ads

April 11, 2013

Josh Wright of Bexley, Ohio has been an intern at the Cincinnati Enquirer for the past four-and-a-half months as part of a local internship through Xavier University. The political science major, who will graduate in May, certainly made an impact in his time there.


In early March, billboards and ads began popping up about voting for a new face on Mt. Rushmore. No other news group had been successful in finding out who was behind them, but Wright’s editor tasked him with writing a news brief with what little information was available.


Wright could have regurgitated what little others had been able to find, but by being persistent, he got to the bottom of the mystery and was doubly rewarded when his item was picked up by USA Today.


“The group named on the billboards had a website,” he says. “I found out who owned the domain name. I contacted that company, I sent messages to their Facebook page, and I called the billboard ad companies.”


Eventually, he received a message from the Facebook site asking for his contact info and on March 28th received an email reply. Stephen Freitas, chief marketing officer of the Outdoor Advertising Association of America, gave Wright the whole story on the thinking behind his organization’s Rushmore Vote billboards.


This summer, Wright will participate in Xavier’s state politics internship program in Columbus, a program in its second year. Students work a 35-hour week for eight weeks and participate in a series of lectures, guest speakers and field trips on state politics. Most work in the legislature, but can intern for media, parties, nonprofits, lobbying groups, executive branch agencies or the judicial branch. The program has tripled in numbers from last year to this. Created by professors Mack Mariani and Gene Beaupre, it gets help from Xavier alumni advisors, all engaged professionally in state politics in Columbus. Matt Whitehead, Pavin Parikh, Eddie Johnson and Mallory Heidorn help with intern placement, event and trip planning, speaker recruitment and also help lead class discussions about state politics.


Wright graduated from Bexley High School in 2008 and is the son of Edna and Harry Wright. After graduation from Xavier, he hopes to eventually work in international relations for a nonprofit or think tank in Washington D.C.


“I am now considering journalism as well,” he adds.