I can’t believe it, but this week my internship is half over!
Here’s a list (because everybody loves lists) of 13 things I’ve learned interning so far other than how to insert “dude,” “right on,” and “bro” in my vocabulary occasionally (that I didn’t really learn in the newsroom).
1.) Intern duties are real.
No, I haven’t had to get anyone coffee yet, but I have signed for Jimmy Johns, ran to the car to pick up forgotten items, filed tapes in the “news morgue” (aka intern morgue), and shadowed like it’s nobody’s business.
2.) Your name is Intern. Get over it.
And sometimes I just go ahead and call myself intern. It’s easier that way. In some newsrooms (ahem KCRG) you can earn your first and last name. But it’s so ingrained in my head now that I’ll probably respond to “Intern!” for the rest of my life.
3.) Questions get gold stars.
Be interested. Ask questions. You can even ask stupid questions every once in awhile. Everyone knows you’re learning. That’s the best part about interning. You’re not expected to know everything so you don’t feel silly asking.
4.) The only way to get yourself on camera is to slip into the newsroom live shot.
I’ve done it…walked through…whispered “Hi
Mom and Dad.” Other than that, I will never stand in front of the lens of a live camera (in the near future anyway :)).
5.) Never ever touch the edit bays during crunch time.
Photographers will assault you. Okay, so maybe they wouldn’t assault you, but they’d get pretty angry. And nobody wants an angry photographer. Believe me, nobody wants an angry photographer.
6.) California newsrooms = fruit freebies
Nectarines, apricots, peaches, you name it. Instead of bringing cake, bring fruit.
7.) Bring flat shoes.
The ABC30 reporters are a bit more fashionable because they have photographers to do the dirty stuff and they don’t have to dress for snow or mud since it never precipitates out here. But they do have to cover fires and those are dirty and gross. Thank God I kept a pair of flats in my bag for the bones story!
8.) Bring lunch wherever you go!
And water, too. There’s no telling when you’ll be back in the newsroom when you’re out chasing a story. If you don’t get to eat, you don’t get to complain.
9.) Don’t expect a pay raise.
Ever. Don’t expect a paycheck either. You get paid in wisdom and smiles. Out here in California you get paid in sunshine.
10.) Don’t upset the union.
Don’t touch the cameras. Don’t show up at the station without clocking in. Don’t go over your 164 hours. Don’t touch any buttons even if it means saving the station from blowing up.
Don’t write for the show. Don’t edit for the show. Don’t report – you got it – for the show.
Everything interns do is for a personal reel or for experience. If anything shows up on air, you’ve got an angry mob of union-ers coming after the station for “taking advantage” of an intern. News flash, Union, we WANT to be taken advantage of. We’ll call you to help us out once we get a real job.
11.) Always and I mean ALWAYS look busy
Ideally, you really are busy. But if you’re not, find something to do, and quick before the news director sees you and gives you some ridiculous intern task. You don’t want to end up in the intern morgue again, do you?
12.) Do more than what’s asked of you. Interning is what you make it.
Going out with a reporter? Well, shoot a stand up and write a package. Hanging out with a producer? Stack a show and write some stories. Learning from the photographers? Track a pack and cut a story. Sitting by the scanner? Call the newsroom and tip them off on something exciting. Instead of sitting back and doing the standard intern shadowing, show them your real skills.
13.) Connect, network, get to know people!
This one is probably the most important. Connections are EVERYTHING in this business (actually, in most businesses). This first day, Liz walked me around and introduced me to everyone. That was a nightside shift. So when I worked a dayside, I didn’t know anyone. I figured I’d meet people as I went but a reporter said to me, “so did you walk around to all the cubicles and introduce yourself to everyone yet?” …Well I never even thought of doing that!