So, the time has come for me to document my first few weeks as an intern with WAVY-TV 10.

I could write a master thesis or a dissertation on my experience thus far and all the knowledge that I’ve learned, but I’ll save that for my future autobiography and narrow it down for this blog.

First and foremost, I wanted this internship so bad I could taste it, and it has completely exceeded all my expectations. Words cannot express my appreciation and excitement for this amazing opportunity. 

This isn’t an internship where you’re just watching someone else complete tasks while you’re taking notes with no mental stimulation (or action) or one where you’re off-limits to certain events — whether big or small.

At WAVY, you are going to completely get the full opportunity to see how a newsroom runs, but you also get the privilege to fully immerse yourself in it too.

On my first day at WAVY, the first order of business was to attend the morning meeting. The meeting happens every morning so the team can plan for the day’s stories.

Everyone from reporters, anchors and producers congregate to discuss the stories of the day and designate assignments. 

I quickly observed that weather is always the precedent for these meetings. 

No matter who you are, or where you’re from, the weather will affect you in some way. So it makes sense that weather is so entwined with daily news. After the weather is discussed, the meeting typically shifts towards what crimes are dominating our local area and how important these stories are to our viewers.

Questions are asked such as, “what stories best go where?” “who is going to cover what?” “what time slot will they go in?” “are we going to cover this story?” “is this particular story newsworthy?

THE STORY IS EVERYTHING.

Putting all this information together to develop a show was in my opinion, similar to “assembling a jigsaw puzzle.”

Ok, so correction — the first order of business on my first day was not the morning meeting. It was sitting with WAVY’s Senior Producer Bob Bennett as he was preparing his rundown (using Daybook) for that day’s 6 p.m. show.

I thought I was watching an optical illusion or a magic trick when I saw how fast he was hitting and clicking things and rearranging things for his show.

This man possessed so much skill and passion for his job.  I’m quite convinced that he could produce a show with his eyes closed. I could quickly tell that every single day that Bob comes into this station, he was going to put on the best newscast ever. Every show would be better than the day before (if that’s even possible).

Bob compared a newscast to the HGTV show “House Hunters.” He started breaking down the segments bit by bit and compared each little segment to areas of a glamorous new home. He said “a news story must have curb appeal. The weather is the master bedroom and the story at 6:15 p.m. is the kitchen.

EVERYONE WANTS TO SEE THE KITCHEN.

Next, I’ll fast forward to my first-weekend shift at WAVY. I was told I would be going out with reporter Madison Pearman and photog Wyatt Young.

Amazing, amazing, amazing first time out in the field experience.

Wyatt takes every shot meticulously (like Spielberg) and Madison is just phenomenal. The way she spoke, her elegance, and her grace (and her hilarious comedy off-screen) was nothing short of inspiring.

She shared her WAVY journey with me and we chatted about how we both went to the same school. We also, of course, started as an intern at WAVY.

We were initially sent to Hampton to cover a triple shooting, but stopped to cover the Greek Festival on the way there. Once we got to the scene of the shooting, we started knocking on doors for information.

Then…BAM!!

Phone rings telling us there’s a missing boater in Hampton and we needed to go there as fast as possible before the 6 p.m. show. That’s when I learned firsthand how fast news can change. Literally at the blink of an eye. We proceeded to the location of where the missing boater’s vessel washed ashore but couldn’t locate the specific area.

This is when I additionally learned that reporters also double as Sherlock Holmes (or Columbo).

Madison began asking people in the area if they had heard about anything and if they knew anything. One person was able to tell us the precise location of where the boat washed ashore, unfortunately for us, it would have taken the same amount of time to climb Mt. Everest to reach the boat.

As a matter of fact, we would still be walking at this very moment had we begun that trek (plus, my check-knee light has turned on in recent years).

Moving along, Wyatt and Madison narrowed down a good area with a good shot to go live from and then I watched the magic happen. As they were setting up, I watched Madison practice the script she had written.

They both explained how the signal works and how it connects the live feed to the station. Then it was SHOWTIME.

Madison starts reading her script and then BAM! Signal drops. Yup just like that. All that preparation can’t stop man-made technology from interfering with a live newscast. However, I believe this was great to see my first time out!

Reporter Michelle Wolf was anchoring from the station and handled it like a pro (cause she is a pro).  Michelle quickly jumped in and started reading Madison’s script. As soon as the signal picked back up Michelle tossed right back over to Madison.

I felt like I was watching Venus and Serena. I got to see what happens when things go WRONG. When things go wrong on live television, you have to know how to keep going and handle it professionally.

The signal picks up again and Madison just picks up where she left off without even skipping a beat. Without even breaking one inch of a sweat. That’s just awesome. Did I mention that I also used this time to write my own script for this story?

Luckily, my beloved professor and Hampton Roads Show Executive Producer Stephanie Cooke has taught me so much about news writing that I’ve gotten lots of practice prior to beginning this internship.

(I highly advise taking her news class if given the opportunity).

I wrote my script and read it back to Madison. She was gracious enough to give me some helpful pointers on how it can be improved, etc. “Ain’t nothin to it but to do it.”

This is the only way you can learn. The only way to get better. You have to just dive in and start doing what you see your peers in the newsroom doing.

However, later that evening when I reflected on the day’s events and how I can improve in certain areas and do better next time, I had an epiphany about the practice script I had written. I heard Stephanie Cooke’s voice in my head saying, “ remember…writing for the ear and writing an article are two different types of writing.”

That’s when it occurred to me that my practice script would have been a great online read, but it would not have been a good piece to read on air.

I have learned that you should deliver your story to an audience as if you are speaking directly to them. As if you are having a conversation.

My next blog will further delve into all the amazing players BEHIND THE SCENES who contribute exponentially to the functionality of the newsroom. And what those amazing players have taught me thus far.

This is extremely cliché but there truly is no I in TEAM at WAVY.

EVERY SINGLE PERSON HERE PLAYS AN INTRICATE AND IMPORTANT ROLE  IN DELIVERING THE NEWS.