Support Local Journalism. Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Scene Intern Sacrificed for Staff, Survives Anyway

Posted By on Tue, May 22, 2012 at 6:53 PM

Justine Stump, first of five scheduled summer interns, so presumably expendable.
  • Justine Stump, first of five scheduled summer interns, so presumably expendable.

Following are the adventures of Scene interness Justine Stump of Kent State University. In her first week on the job, she was invited to join other members of the media in rappelling off the 17-story DoubleTree Hotel downtown. The publicity stunt was part of DoubleTree’s new initiative to kill off journalism more efficiently than digital media already is.

The editorial staff of Scene would like to thank Justine for making us look all extreme and whatnot, when we were actually way happier eating Bugles back at our desk. We hear it was a pretty day outside. This is Justine's story.

Seventeen stories up, my heels are at the edge of the DoubleTree Hotel roof and I'm being encouraged to jump. “What the hell have I gotten myself into?” I think. I'm a journalist, so when I was presented with the opportunity to rappel down the side of a building I just couldn't pass it up.

Why, you might ask, was I asked to descend from the Cleveland skyline. Well, it's just one of the many unique experiences that journalists are often asked to do and it definitely wasn't in the job description.

Over the Edge is a unique charity event that allows participants to check something off their bucket list, assuming your life’s goal is to hang sideways off the side of a Rust Belt hotel. There is a minimum donation of $1,000 that needs to be raised in order to take part. Proceeds go toward the Special Olympics, unless you are a penniless journalist or an intern, in which case they terrorize you for free.

When I got the e-mail from my editor with the subject line “Media offered opportunity to rappel tall building in Cleveland,” I felt both a sense of foreboding and excitement. The e-mail simply read “let me know if you're interested,” and had the event information attached.

Was I interested? I felt a thrill rush through my body. The bragging rights alone seemed like they would make this worthwhile. After agonizing over my decision and talking to a few people, I was convinced.
“Alright, I'll do it,” I e-mailed back, and I knew there was no turning back.

Scene interns dont fetch coffee. Well, not unless they want some too.
  • Scene interns don't fetch coffee. Well, not unless it's dangling off a skyscraper.

Before they let me simply jump over the side of a building, I was suited up in gear and trained on the proper procedures, to ensure that my family would collect squat in the event of my untimely passing.

“Would you like me to explain things in the technical terms or layman’s terms?” asked the guide as he fit us in our equipment.

“Layman’s,” we all practically shouted.

“Alright,” he said, “this is your blue thingy and it's your gas pedal,” pointing at a metal blue contraption hooked to our waist.

After a practice run — a short rappel off of one story — we were ready to go. We crowded in an elevator and were brought to the roof. The view alone made it worth it. Right on the lake, I admired the view spotting the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and then I remembered: I was 17 stories up and there was only one honorable way down.

I anxiously awaited my turn. Once I was strapped in and secure, I was asked to lean over the edge and trust my weight to the harness. I felt a brief moment of panic, what if the gear didn't hold? That was the worst part. Once I was over the edge, it was smooth sailing. I even got a little cocky and tested how fast I could go before getting nervous and hitting the brake.

And just like that I was at the bottom, enjoying a DoubleTree chocolate chip cookie. Not bad for a day at the office. — Justine Stump

Tags: , ,

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Cleveland Scene. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Cleveland Scene, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club for as little as $5 a month.

More by Erich Burnett

Read the Digital Print Issue

December 1, 2021

View more issues


Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.


© 2021 Cleveland Scene: 737 Bolivar Rd., Suite 4100, Cleveland, OH 44115, (216) 505-8199
Logos and trademarks on this site are property of their respective owners.

Website powered by Foundation