What a summer it has been. The last eleven weeks have flown by, and as my internship with WAVY draws to a close, it’s an appropriate time to reflect as what I’ve learned, as well as the people I need to thank for devoting their time and patience to teach me about the television business.
Writing down every lesson I’ve taken from this internship would make this blog post far too long, so instead I’ll pick three of my favorites. First, if you are nothing else in television, be fast. TV stations are deadline-driven, so everyone needs to be organized and efficient.
Second, double-check everything. Everything. Even when hurrying to get a story ready, make sure each piece of information is accurate, including what you think you know for sure.
Finally, ratings are king. They drive revenue and determine what/where/when content is placed on air and on the web. I became fascinated with the analytics behind ratings and how television stations use their knowledge of audience demographics to develop effective strategies for reaching people.
I’m so thankful that everyone at WAVY was friendly and willing to help me learn. It was a privilege to work with the fantastic professionals in the sports department. Bruce Rader, Brian Parsons and Nathan Epstein took time from their busy schedules to teach me the ins and outs of the business. They gave me the opportunity to create digital content for the FIFA World Cup almost every day during the tournament, an experience I’m very proud of and that I had a lot of fun with.
Trips around Hampton Roads with Nathan, from a high school playoff baseball game to Old Dominion football camp to the sand soccer national title game, showed me all the elements a reporter has to think of when shooting a package. Reporters often have to work solo and therefore be Swiss Army knifes.
I’m beyond grateful for all that Stephanie Cooke did to put together an internship program that provides all WAVY interns with valuable insight into the television industry. Shadowing each department for a day taught me the multiple moving pieces that need to come together to make the on-screen product.
As I head back to Elon for my senior year and then on to the job search, I am far better prepared than I was at the start of the summer. Each day I came to work, I was reminded of why I want to work in journalism.
The people who produce and deliver the news provide a vital service to their communities in keeping them informed and exposing injustice that would otherwise remain in the dark. Journalists work unusual hours and often don’t get the recognition they deserve, but they are passionate about what they do. That’s the kind of industry I want to be a part of in the future.