Archive for July, 2011

A late discovery…

This week at NBC I was able to go out on shoot with 10! Show host, LuAnn Cahn. LuAnn is creating a new segment on the show that’s about first experiences. She is asking viewers to think about something they’ve never had the chance to do and with LuAnn’s help, make it happen.

LuAnn and I headed down to Chestnut Hill where we would be meeting with a woman who is a mom of three and has never been able to decorate a nice cake for any of the special occasions she shares with her family. We arrived at a charming bakery where a sugar artist held a private class for the mom of three.

During the car ride home I was able to get to know LuAnn, a veteran in the industry of over 20 years. She began at NBC as a general assignment reporter and later transitioned to the investigators unit and spent 10 years cracking cases through journalism. Then, she inquired about me.

I have to be honest, after hearing her impressive track record I was very intimidated and almost at a loss of words as to who I am and what I’m about. I gave her a brief background about what school I attend, my major and my experiences with media at Cabrini. Once I began to talk about journalism and my experiences with Loquitur I began to feel more confident, like I knew what I was talking about. I told her that I really enjoyed writing, particularly feature stories because I like to tell people’s stories especially those whose voices aren’t often heard.

Then LuAnn asked, “Kelsey, why are you interning at the 10! Show? Why aren’t you in investigators?”

At NBC, interns who work in the investigators unit are responsible for answering tip reports but also finding some of the news themselves. However, LuAnn described investigators in a way that made it sound right up my alley. She said working in the investigators unit is actually a way of helping people. Not that often do we view news or media as a way of helping a person out.  Sure, we inform people but I don’t think we realize that information and the way it is received can really alleviate many situations both good and bad. People call into investigators all the time about a crisis in the neighborhood and by airing that on the six o’ clock news, we the communicators have the power to raise awareness and perhaps avert the crisis.

After realizing this I was a little disappointed in myself. When I was interviewed for the summer internship, I was asked what department I would like to intern for. I chose 10! Show for shallow reasons like fun, entertainment, and because it seemed like it would be easier going. While it sometimes has been all of these things I do believe I have learned a lot at the show.

With that said, I wish I didn’t just glaze over the other opportunities I could have been a part of at the company.

Lucky for me, LuAnn plans on bringing me over to the investigators unit next week to let me shadow the unit for a day!

My days at NBC are dwindling down to just a few so I am ready to absorb all experiences and lessons that the next few days will bring.

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Stepping it up

Although I am in fact an official NBC intern this summer, I also am employed at Cabrini College as a paid student intern. I work in the office of Instituional Advancement meddling in work related to alumni affairs and event planning. I spend half of my week at Cabrini, the other half at NBC. This influences me to compare NBC to yet another job experience.

In IA at Cabrini I belong to the non-profit world where donations both to and from current students as well as alumni is a constant topic of conversation. At NBC in the for-profit world numbers and ratings are the usual buzz of conversation.

As I try to clarify in my own head the real difference between for profit and non profit, I come to this simple conclusion: a for profit is intended to benefit its owners, whereas a non profit is intended to further a purpose. When it’s phrased like this, it makes you want to be a part of the latter industry. However, there are pros and cons to everything and I may not be spot on with my definitions. I still have a lot of learning to do. I will say that the contrast of my work week is allowing me to see both sides of the fence.

This week at NBC nothing out of the ordinary happen. On a typical morning at NBC I help with aduience coordination prior to the guests arrival. Then once the show begins taping, I act somewhat of a stage crew person. After the show it’s back to the office to plan tomorrow’s show. I will say that this internship sometimes feels more of a shadowing than a job. We have however been encouraged to generate ideas and contribute whenever possible. In fact, Lu An Chan has even suggested she would take one of us out to lunch if we “presented ourselves the opportunity.”

My former experience with finding ideas for stories was a very successful one. I always had ideas for Loquitur that translated to Loqation. However, my ideas are paralell to my interests and my audience. My interests are often social justice news and campus news while my aduience for those two media was the Cabrini College community. Now that my target audience has changed and the viewers of the !10 show aren’t dying to read about impoverished African nations, I’ve drawn a blank!

This whole experience feels like I’ve switched jobs. I feel how newly hired people must feel when they feel like an expert in one field, and then starting over at a new job in a new territory; just lost. I’ve realized that if I want to find my way through this internship, I need to do a little homework.

Since it’s summer and I’m guilty of having a drifting mindset, I need to put in some extra effort  extra time outside of my internship to really show that my ideas are worthy of condisderation to be a segment on the show. By doing some homework and contributing more, I’m hoping to enjoy the NBC experience a little more.

I will admit that it has taken me a longer time to get used to things at NBC than previous jobs, but I’m beginning to admit to myself that I’m resisting my own growth in this internship. I’ve been presented this great opportunity and it’s time I step it up. It may not be what I want to do in the future, but I plan on sucking out every bit of life’s little lessons in every experience.

 

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New experiences are measured with old…

I am finally reflecting on what has been 2 months now at my internship the 10! Show at NBC in Philly.

A little rewind on what has led me to NBC in the first place…

Upon enrolling at Cabrini my interests included TV, movies, and a little theater. I felt I wasn’t great at any particular academic subject but I never minded that until I had to pick a major in college. I weighed everything I felt I was good at, or excelled in. I performed the lead role in Footloose in high school and was heavily involved in school clubs and loved talking. I was evening the morning and afternoon announcement girl in high school. For whatever reason, all of these little quirks made me think I’d be a good communication major. I like to communicate, why not? I had no idea what a communication major was. What I did know was that news anchors on TV were likely journalism or communication majors, and so I thought a TV News Anchor would be a perfect career choice! Then reality set in..

First year at Cabrini I was involved simply in radio and it was just enough for me to be happy with the major I chose. Sophomore year I was active in the student-run news program as an anchor, finally my dream had come true! This experience taught me that my reasoning of why I wanted to be a news anchor was shallow. I wanted to have my hair and make-up done on a daily basis and have people ask me for my autograph. Then, I started appreciating everything else that was involved in a news show. I admired the production team more because of the time they put in before the show, during the show, and the endless hours after the show just to produce a 10 minutes segment. Among all of the admiration, I felt this just wasn’t what I was interested in anymore.

Then, I discovered journalism. What a pleasant discovery. For once I thought, I subject I like and I think I’m good at! In the midst of me discovering my place within the communication field, I discovered the meaning of social justice. I was actually eager to attend classes that taught me about places I never heard of with problems I couldn’t even imagine and real people living in these unimaginable places with these problems. What I enjoyed even more was writing about all of it.

Once I discovered that I could use these communication skills to educate others, share personal stories, and even advocate for change, I was hooked. Last semester I had an amazing experience working for Catholic Relief Services in which I worked alongside people who are dedicated to making this world a better place. I learned that it is possible to have fulfillment and purpose in your work week. I used my skills to produce an electronic newsletter that would educate people about the work CRS does in an effort to create peace and solidarity in the lives of those less fortunate. I don’t see how anyone could hate coming to work knowing you’re a part of something as great as that.

Fast forward to this summer and I am in a very different environment, with very different people, who have very different objectives and goals. Alas, I am working for television-a dream of mine. Except, it’s a lot different than what I thought it would be.

My first day proved to be exciting, and by exciting I mean terrifying. Bill Henley to my right, Lu Ann Cahn to my left, Terry Ruggles behind me in the checkout line in the cafeteria…very intimidating. After being introduced to the hosts I was able to relax as I learned they were very accommodating and seemed like they valued having the interns a part of the production team.

I learned my tasks would include audience coordination which involves reaching out to our viewers via phone and email to encourage them to be a part of our studio audience, thinking of marketing strategies that would bring in large groups of people like women’s book clubs, YMCA campers, etc., and organizing the guests the day of show.

In addition to audience coordination, I contribute to the website by writing captions for all of the segments. (I get to write something!)

In between the hectic morning of setting up, shooting, and wrapping up the show and the slower afternoon of getting things ready for tomorrow’s show, the tasks are few and far between. What I have learned from this internship is that sometimes, you have to make your own work. This internship is not one where people will hold your hand through everything. If I want a job to do, I need to generate my own idea of what needs to be accomplished.

This is a valuable thing in regards to taking initiative and also independence in the work place.

On the downside of this, it is challenging to execute your own idea when there are 5 other eager interns wanting to share their idea along with the staff of people who are paid to share ideas. I must admit, this is very intimidating. I typically am very motivated and driven to see my goals completed. For the first time, I feel very out of my element and unsure of myself. This is the kind of workplace where if you don’t do something correctly, you’ll know about it.

The experience has gotten better and I have had opportunity to share a couple of ideas with the producers. In this very moment though, I feel the biggest thing I’m learning from this experience is that TV isn’t as glamorous as you see in the movies, and the only thing that is actually like the movies, is that you will be asked at least once to fetch someone’s coffee.

Stay tuned; I am still positive about a richer experience…

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