Position: Summer Intern at NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams
Location: New York City
Description of what you did: I was a broadcast intern at Nightly News during Summer 2012, where I worked directly with producers on news and feature pieces for the evening newscast.
Major at Dartmouth: English with concentrations on popular culture and British literature
1. What was the most satisfying about your work?
From the first day, I was relieved to realize that my internship would be different from those portrayed on television sitcoms — there were no coffee runs. Immediately, I became an active member of the newsroom team and was often responsible for meeting the same daily deadlines as producers, designers, writers, and reporters. During the first week, I was trained by media professionals on how to use specific video editing and logging programs. I further developed those skills throughout my internship, editing videos for NBCNews.com and previewing footage for news and Olympics pieces.
Although I was completing basic production tasks, it was truly awesome seeing even seconds of footage I logged and highlighted for producers appear on the national evening newscast. Luckily for me, as an Olympics aficionado, many of my assignments were completed in preparation for the London 2012 Summer Games. I also assisted producers and crew on a couple of on-location shoots, including a day spent in the Bronx filming the New York Yankees at their HOPE Week charity events. At the end of the summer, I was hired as a “runner” for NBC and MSNBC at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina, where the hands-on production experiences continued. Overall, I was introduced to the truly multi-faceted field that is news media. The career options are endless.
2. What’s the best way to enter the broadcast journalism field? Any essential elements of preparation?
First, you have to like news. Whether you prefer broadcast over print is not important, because there are skills, like writing, that overlap in both fields. But your job will be variably different each day given the nature of news. You have to embrace that nature and you have to like that nature. Secondly, some experience, whether it’s through a campus publication or previous internship(s), in news or media is certainly a plus. It makes the adjustment to a professional newsroom easier and exciting. Also, there will be certain takeaways: You can apply the skills you learn when you return to work with your campus groups or in future jobs.
With that being said, it’s also very important to have an open mind and thick skin. Professional producers and editors take the time to show you how they start and finish a piece. They also talk with you and review your own work, offering suggestions and edits to a web piece you’ve spent hours working on. Take those moments as learning experiences. Some of the more interesting conversations I had with producers were about just two seconds of footage we were considering.
3. What advice would you give to others seeking internships in this field?
Be willing to try something different. For instance, if you’re interested in an editorial internship but get a media design or business one, don’t necessarily turn it down. Your interests can change — and that’s a good thing. Chances are good that you’ll likely experience editorial aspects in a business or design environment as well, or vice versa. It’s an interdisciplinary field.
4. How has Dartmouth supported you in your career development?
At this internship, I noticed my liberal arts background come into play. Because of Dartmouth’s curriculum requirements and liberal arts emphasis, I have taken courses in many departments. I incorporated skills and knowledge from classes in several departments into my daily duties. Dartmouth classes and experiences have pushed me to think deeply, act resourcefully, and ask important questions. In July, when the Aurora, Colorado shootings occurred, the Nightly office was quickly reacting to the breaking news and changing reports. My coursework in media research, statistics, public policy, anthropology, and literature helped me efficiently assist producers and communicate with others throughout the country.
As I approach graduation, I also realize how important resources like Rauner Special Collections and Jones Media Center are in pursuing my career path. There you learn valuable research methods and how to use similar and sometimes the same software media and production companies use.
5. Is there anything else you would like to add?
Interning at NBC was a wonderful experience. In fact, I was sad to leave on my last day! I definitely suggest browsing the NBC Universal career site if you’re interested in news, entertainment, sports, business, marketing, law, and, well, just about anything! I met interns from different departments and we all only had positive things to say about our internships. Take a look and apply!