I entered my internship completely oblivious.
I was clueless about how to operate a camera, use editing software, or even adjust a tripod properly. Unlike college classes, there wasn’t a syllabus outlining expectations or requirements.
My news director and other co-workers simply said the same thing: “You’ll get out of this internship what you put into it,” and that was the beginning of the most rewarding, yet challenging, summer of my life.
With an extremely plan-oriented and organized personality, I knew I had all of my eggs in one basket. I didn’t want to spend my entire college education pursuing a career that I wouldn’t enjoy.
News is a career that requires someone who loves a fast-paced environment, can handle stressful situations appropriately, and thrives in chaos. Therefore, the hands-on and real world experience of an internship was exactly what I needed to confirm that news is my passion.
My internship began by shadowing various reporters and following them out on to the field. Morning meetings were extremely beneficial and gave me a general overlay of the news throughout the city and also what my colleagues considered “news-worthy.”
While it often took a collaborative effort to make decisions, I appreciated the constructive criticism I witnessed in each meeting. Everyone genuinely cared about the other stories and how to assist one another in creating a phenomenal newscast by the end of the day. Each staff member had a different view on the topic at hand, but all had the same goal: to provide news.
I come from the small town of Madison, GA and have lived a relatively sheltered childhood. Moving to a foreign city where I didn’t know a single person was scary in and of itself, but that was nothing compared to the eye-opening stories for which I was unprepared.
Murders, crime, and drug busts were things I had only seen watching NCIS on television, so experiencing them first-hand made me realize that I was in the real world now. The most difficult part was emotionally detaching from each situation.
I attended my first funeral ever on my first day interning. I watched a distraught mother mourning her eight-year-old son at a vigil, and I saw elderly retirees displaced while watching their home burst in flames. Witnessing these horrific instances certainly gave me a new perspective on life.
However, I covered equally as many uplifting stories. I stood as families celebrated their loved ones walking across the graduation stage to receive their diplomas, I conversed with local business owners about their excitement for North Augusta’s growth, and I watched a mother rejoicing over her son eating for the first time in five years after the positive effects of using cannabis oil. Experiencing these life-changing moments through others was beyond rewarding.
We drove to the government building, set up our cameras and equipment, and waited for the officials to begin. I sat there completely unaware of the ramifications of this bust, and needless to say I was shocked.
To hear that 22 individuals were caught for online sex-trafficking left me speechless. Some of our reporters began asking questions and a few people from the other news stations jumped in as well. It was my second week interning and I wasn’t sure what my limitations were as far as participation, but I was so excited that I couldn’t help but to chime in.
While leaving the press conference, I still hadn’t fully wrapped my head around something so unthinkable. But upon returning to the news room and hearing encouraging and proud remarks from my co-workers about my questions, I was on top of the world.
News is always occurring, but there are days that you will spend hours researching and investigating something to create a story. Finding characters to speak about your topic, especially on camera, is not always easy.
It takes keen people skills to create lasting relationships with local officials and personnel, a special knack to persuade people to share their personal life stories, and an unwavering persistence to know you will fail a million times in a day until you complete one story package for the show. However, the best part is every day is a new day, and every day you get to start from scratch.
Interning with News 12 has certainly provided me with fundamental knowledge about a career in news, and I learned more in these three short months with hands-on experience than I ever have sitting in a classroom.
This internship was so beneficial because of the exceptional staff at the station. While they pushed me to think and perform individually the majority of the time, not a single person hesitated to help me. They genuinely wanted me to succeed and get the most out of my internship, even if it meant taking time out of their hectic days.
I am looking forward to putting the fundamental skills I have acquired this summer to good use, and have already begun to do so in my journalism classes at The University of Georgia. WRDW-TV News 12 was an exceptional opportunity and I’m excited to see what’s next!
In proud partnership with The Dean’s List, a digital branding and career services company that empowers young professionals and small businesses.