Lifetime Learning


“Hey, Kristen! Would I be able to write a topical today?”, I asked as I popped my head into her office. “Of course! Mark is out today so you can sit with me and we can go over the stories”, Kristen joyfully remarked. At the beginning of my internship, I had the opportunity to shadow Mark, the topical producer. Although an overwhelming position, the idea of writing topicals intrigued me. To clarify, writing a topical is not a reference to medicine to be frequently taken. In television, a topical refers to a short snippet teasing upcoming stories. I quickly realized that there is an art to writing topicals. However, I was up for the challenge.

The first step to writing topicals is research. Kristen allowed me to choose three stories. I chose my stories, and she printed the material gathered by the journalists. Second, I had to read the stories and attempt to understand its essence. Being a voracious reader, I thoroughly enjoyed this aspect of the job. Third, the most challenging but most rewarding part—writing. In fifteen seconds, my goal was to tease three stories. As I wrote, Kristen’s advice kept running throughout my brain.

“Remember your audience, Zak.” This proved vitally important. What portion of the story grasped my attention? What part would grasp my audiences’ attention? What specific combination of words would create an unquenchable thirst inciting viewers to watch the segment? With this newfound enthusiasm, I wrote my three sentences tweaking until arriving at fifteen seconds. After I wrote my topicals, I walked back into Kristen’s office. For the next few minutes, I shared my sentences with Kristen who provided helpful and constructive feedback.

One thing that I enjoy about being a promotional intern is the unique experience. Never would I have thought that I would help film a helicopter or produce a commercial. This week also held another opportunity that I never thought I would ever receive.

The heat emanated from the cramped environment. Symone and I followed an officer down a set of slippery steps into a room billowing with steam. I lowered my head and walked through the opening. There, before me, a huge engine, the heart of the cutter ship. This weekend, the Eagle docked in Norfolk. Hearing about the docking, Symone asked to do a piece on the historic ship eventually leading to her producing a segment on the vessel. Although no different than any other segment, I thoroughly enjoyed the beautiful day walking around the ship filming various items aboard.

After disembarking the Coast Guard watercraft, I gazed upon the beauty of sails. As I basked in the warmth of the sun, a thought burst into my mind. Simply, I have loved every single moment of my internship. From the cold days freezing with Symone waiting to grab MOS or getting overly excited about expressions in After Effects with Eric, every moment sparkles with a hint of life’s simple joy. However, such a thought also made me reflect on the how little time I still have left at WAVY. Sadly, my time at WAVY will end, but the experience I have gained will last me a lifetime.

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