By Lynn Walsh | December 27th, 2010
By: Jacqueline Ingles
Three years into broadcast and I have already had the pleasure and sometimes pain of working with close to a dozen interns. Internships are important and students should get them to take advantage of them.
Unfortunately, there are those that only come to a newsroom to sit around, do nothing and fluff up their resume. I chose to write about this topic because this past year I had an intern superstar. Not only was this girl motivated, but she was a self-starter. I would actually come into work and look forward to working with her. Not only did she go above and beyond, but she got herself recognized, liked and walked out with great references.
Here are a few things I noticed:
1) No Job was Too Small
Even if this intern was getting me a a diet coke, no job was to small. I get that everyone wants to help write, edit, shoot, and get standups for their real, etc. But, I often forget to eat in my jam packed day. And, I was thankful and noted every time she took on a task of little to no meaning. She did it and did it eagerly. Soon, we were spending lunches together and I was showing her editing tricks and sipping on Cokes together. We talked business and she got great insight. She realized how the littlest thing can impact someone’s day in the newsroom and how help, even if small, goes a long way. So, the lesson to all interns: even if you are getting coffee or stapling papers, running scripts to anchors, these little things mean a lot to reporters. Our days are long, detailed and while you may not realize, those little jobs and tasks are very helpful. Do it with a smile and be eager, and you will get noticed.
2) Ms. Self-Starter
If I were in the field taking photos for the web, guess who was right next to me snapping away on her iPhone? My intern! I did not ask her to do this or tell her. She did it on her own and it paid off. Her photos showed up on our web site with her own by-line. Also, as a one-woman-band, if I was shooting, she would ask to see shots, ask me how to position the camera, etc. She got so good at what she was doing, when I needed a hand shooting standups, guess who worked the camera? My intern. To thank her, I would then work the camera for her and she got standups for her reel.
3) Going the Distance…Literally
I have the opportunity to also work 50 miles away from my station in my own bureau a few times a week. Many people hear bureau and RUN. They only want to be at the main station, around the big anchors and in the nice studio. This intern didn’t. In fact, she made it a point to drive to the bureau and spend the day with me. Was it glamorous? No. Was it long, hard and grueling? Yes. But, she did it. She wanted to get her hands into as many pies as possible so to speak. And, it had me admiring her. It showed me that to her, TV was not about being on TV.
Now, I have had some interns who are best described as duds. One girl decided to leave earlier for a nail appointment. Apparently, her pedicure was more important than staying until deadline. Needless to say, she didn’t walk out with a demo reel or anyone’s respect. Bottom line, come in motivated and take everything seriously, big or small. Our industry is small. It is likely the people you intern for now will be in positions to recommend you for hire later.
Jacqueline Ingles is a multi-platform reporter for KXAN-TV in Austin, Texas. She writes, shoots, edits, fronts her story and then provides a more in-depth story version on her station’s web site daily. She founded the blog “In Ingles Please” in early 2010. A native of Chicago, Jacqueline received a master’s in broadcast journalism from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. She also graduated Summa Cum Laude from Loyola University-Chicago.