After nearly 12 weeks of interning, I’ve learned a lot about how the departments within the news station tie in together. From the start, I prioritized my time around everything that interested me, like television production in its entirety, sports, station promos and going out on assignments with reporters. All the obvious things people generally associate with a news station. While none of the areas I focused on disappointed, it was beneficial to learn the various aspects of each field and evaluate how compatible they were with my talents and interests. The great thing about interning is that it allows me to learn about what interests me and enables me to discover interests in areas I never expected or even knew of.
As I progressed through my intern goals checklist of department tasks that guide my learning, I kept coming back to the very first task on the list that I’ve never seemed to have much enthusiasm for…working the assignment desk. For whatever reason, there’s a sort of unspoken bias against the assignment desk. While I’m not exactly sure where my preconceived notion that the assignment desk is an undesirable position came from, I’m positive that I owe my enlightenment to the knowledgeable professionals I’ve been able to shadow and work with. The producers and assignment manager helped me discover quite a few important facets of the news industry that I somehow managed to overlook, even though its always been there for me to see, and I must admit that I now realize that the assignment desk really is where it’s at.
Once I gave the news assignment desk a try, it didn’t take long to figure that it’s a diamond in the rough. The assignment desk is the nerve center of the newsroom. In many ways, it’s where the action starts. The assignment editors are better informed than most anyone because their job is to know everything that’s happening in their area and that appeals to me. The assignment editors get the news first, decide what information is newsworthy, plan reporting assignments and so much more. The rush of doing news triage with the added challenge of staying on top of news stories, crews in the field and staying organized all while keeping calm and collected is quite a thrill for me.
It’s exciting to gain insight on the pulse of a community through fielding phone calls and even listening to the police scanners because there’s nothing like it. I found the assignment desk to be very compatible with my curiosity, and desire to be informed and involved. Best of all I learned that what seems obvious is sometimes far from what’s true and that makes the news industry that much more awesome.