Finding internships and hands-on learning (and the correct freeway exits!) in a semester at the heart of the entertainment industry with the LA Program.About this blog
Thursday, October 6, 2011
When on the verge of a new opportunity, I tend to jump into it full throttle, to almost leap without looking. I’m an Aries — we’re headstrong, often fearless, and get a rush out of embarking on new adventures.
So, when I was accepted into the ICLA program, I decided I wanted to intern in TV production, not at a newspaper or magazine like I had been doing the past two years. That was also the time I decided to switch my major from journalism to documentary studies and production.
I thought I was starting over, and I didn’t realize how my print experience would help me out in the world of moving pictures.
Last semester, I was the News Editor for the Ithacan, IC’s student-run newspaper. This meant I had to devote the majority of my time to being in that newspaper office. When I wasn’t in class, I was in the office. When I wasn’t in the office, I was sleeping. When one production cycle ended, another began right away. I had fun doing it, made friends, and learned new things each day. However, I spent so much time working there that I started wondering what else was out there for me to try.
I really wanted to explore a different side of media. So, I applied for LA internships in non-fiction television production. My resume was full of magazine and newspaper writing gigs, internships and editing positions. I didn’t have much production experience. I was a little scared, and I kept wondering if these Hollywood people would just laugh at the print journalist who wanted to try her hand at television.
Well, it turns out that all my print experience from Ithacan, Fuse and the local town paper, The Ithaca Times, actually gave me an edge and prepared me for a TV production internship. The skills I gained from my journalism experience are helpful to me now as I go through The Doctors production cycle.
At the Ithacan, we run our operation like a real newsroom. We edit stories over and over. We spend hours discussing story ideas and how to go about covering them. We are very accurate and thorough in every aspect of the production process — from fact-checking and spelling names to grammar and covering all sides of a story.
Operating our newsroom like that gave me the skills to be able to perform tasks with the right balance of speed and accuracy. When my producers give me a task here, I know how to do it quickly without being sloppy.
The Ithacan and some of my journalism classes also taught me how to research and interview. At The Doctors, I’ve had to pre-interview potential talent over the phone, then present the information to my producers. From that info, they decided whether or not to book the person. If I didn’t have those interviewing skills, I wouldn’t be able to ask the right questions and get the type of info I was looking for. Plus, I had the right voice to interview over the phone. I remember freshman year when my questions to sources were full of “uhms” and pauses and such (AKA awkward, newbie journalist move). There’s no room for newbie interviews at my current internship. After all, I’m helping to find talent for a nationally syndicated talk show. It’s not the college newspaper anymore.
Another one of my tasks at The Doctors is to find news stories to use for the “Hot Headlines” portion of the show. Recently, I stood backstage and watched the hosts debate a topic I had found in a news story. It was awesome knowing my news judgment skills I gained from IC got my work, however miniscule, on the air.
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Fuse is a student produced publication about the Ithaca College experience. All content in the print and web versions of Fuse is developed by current Ithaca College students in a breadth of different areas of study.