Real World Experience A Must
Real World Experience A Must
By Lauracindy Plague
This year I'm spending my summer interning at Fox News. Yes, the Fox News. You may have heard of them before, assuming you haven't been living in a bubble. I knew this was just the kind of real world experience I needed to move forward in the industry-a well-known, respected news organization with a highly-sought internship program.
I've loved all of the classes I have taken towards my Communication Studies degree, but few of them have taught me how to do the job I want. I've learned relevant theories, but not me how to apply them in the workforce. In class I never learned how to put together a package for air or how to work any of the equipment I would have to use on the job. I knew I needed to supplement my superb education (Go Blue!) with some real world skills.
When I was offered the opportunity to intern at the most-watched cable news network, there was no way that I could pass it up, how could I say no? I couldn't, even though a few people tried to convince me that I shouldn't take it. I just brushed it off-I knew I was doing the right thing to gain the skills I needed.
For eight months last year, I interned at WJBK, a local FOX affiliate station in Detroit. I worked in the investigative department, which was essentially just me, the reporter, and the camera guys. I had a lot of responsibilities and I took on even more than I was assigned.
I wanted a similar experience at this summer in New York at the national bureau, but I didn't think such a well-know corporation would give so much responsibility to an intern. I expected to work with a large crew, and have very few actual responsibilities as an intern, even though I wanted to do the work, not just sit around and watch. What I got was the exact opposite of what I had expected.
I'm interning on "Justice with Judge Jeanine," a weekend primetime show that started in January. I've already learned so much in the first nine weeks so far and I have a few left to learn more.
Since the show is so new, I have plenty of opportunities to actually do stuff. Under the close guidance of producers, I research stories that we're looking into, pull video elements for packages that need to be edited, search for pictures and video to be used in the show, and I scour through hours upon hours of interviews to find the perfect sound bites. (Sounds pretty important, huh?)
Not all of the jobs I do the most glamorous, but they need to be done to get the show on the air. This is the real world experience I wanted. Sometimes things get a bit tedious, but I know that the job I am doing, although sometimes not the most exciting, does not go unnoticed. The logs I write help producers when they require a direct quote or specific information for a package.
We only film once per week (with the exception of a few added Sunday specials) and it feels really good to see the final product of a week's worth of work come together seamlessly. What I like even more is being able to see each step that was taken to get to there. I never know what to expect on any given day, calm or chaos, but I have learned how to get through both and I don't think I will ever stop learning (one of the things that is so great about this job!).
I'm already planning how I can take what I have learned back to Ann Arbor with me in the fall. I know that what I've learned at FNC will help me in my new position as News Director at WOLV-TV, the student-run television station at the University of Michigan. I can use some skills I've learned to improve our News program “Newsfeed," which I produce and anchor once weekly. Things I've learned that seem obvious to me now, but weren't before, like reading up on topics to really understand it before reporting it.
If you're interested in going into broadcast journalism, real world/internship experience is an absolute must! And shameless plug: if you want to get involved on campus consider joining WOLV-TV (or similar station at whatever university you attend). We do news shows, sports shows, and entertainment shows, building them from the ground up to the final product. “Newsfeed," which airs live twice weekly, is a great way to get a taste of what goes on at real world broadcast news organizations on-air and behind the scenes (on a much, much smaller scale). All of our contact info can be found in the links.
I only have two and a half weeks left at my internship (sad face), but I'll be writing again after it's over to let you know how it all turned out!