For those of you who read about my first day at WTHR you may be hoping to learn that my week got better and I started to enjoy my internship. So far, that still hasn’t exactly happened.
I think I picked the worst week in the world to start this internship. There are no other new interns … what I learned throughout the week is that the others have been there for at least 2-4 weeks now. That’s made things difficult because people aren’t expecting to see new faces anymore at this point. Another tough part of the week has been that the station was short staffed. A lot of people were on vacation or medical leave this week for some reason, leaving others to pull double duty and do more than the amount of work they are used to. You may think, “what a great opportunity to get involved and be helpful where help is needed.” That was my thought too, the only problem is, that people’s busyness left them no time to show me how things worked.
One day I tried to work with the producers. It was my second day there and I thought, since I knew they needed help, this would be the perfect opportunity to contribute. I talked with one of the producers at the end of the morning meeting and she explained to another intern and me how she laid out the shows and picked stories for each. Seemed like things were going well and she was explaining and teaching. However, as we walked out the door, Alex (the other intern) asked, “will you want us to help you today?” She said, “Yes, if you can … but I don’t have time to train anyone.” Well that was a bummer for me. I’m good at figuring things out, and I’m a fairly quick learner, but I had only been there one day. Every news station and every producer does things a little bit differently. I didn’t know how she would want things written, or what the procedure was for anything because I hadn’t had any training. So even though I have been taught how to write, I still felt lost and like I couldn’t contribute.
So, the week the station is short producers is clearly not the time to get an “in” with the producers. I learned that pretty quickly. Maybe I’ll try again this week if everyone is there and accounted for. I took this internship because I was under the impression that I would get to work on producing. I thought that’s even one of the reasons why I was picked.
The most frustrating thing about this week has been the apparent lack of structure to the internship program. There is little direction, rules are added as they are thought of, and the distinctions we thought there would be between interns (web, producing, and reporting) are non-existent. It’s a free for all after the morning meeting to get paired up with someone for the day.
After day one, I spent the last 3 days of the week going out with reporters. It was interesting and informative. Since I shoot packages for Crossroads, it was still useful to watch and learn from reporters. I gathered ideas on how to put together a good story, I observed one reporter who conducted amazing interviews (something I am extremely and noticeably uncomfortable doing), and I picked up other little tid-bits of info about having a good attitude and putting myself out there.
On Wednesday, it was my third day at WTHR, and I went out to shoot a story with a reporter I had worked with the day before. We shot the story, came back to the station, and I finally had time to eat my lunch around 2:30. Usually after, we get back from shooting, the reporter has to write the story and the photographer edits, so I don’t really have much to do, so I was talking with some of the other interns about some of the stories from the day and learning about their experiences. Not 10 minutes after I finished eating, the photographer walked past me and asked, “are you coming with us?” I said back to him, “are we going back out?” His response was, “Yes we are … breaking news!” Not something that happens everyday! Of course I went out … I hate just sitting around feeling useless, and going back out to the scene of something interesting was much more interesting!
As a whole the week improved, but it’s been nothing like I thought my internship would be. I had been hoping to be more helpful, but the extent of my use has been carrying a mic or a notepad for a reporter. I know I have to start somewhere, but I know I’m capable of more. Hopefully, my experience gets better every week … and maybe soon I’ll be doing something I actually enjoy.
If you’re interested in seeing more pictures, or more frequent updates … I have an album of pictures on my facebook that I post to almost daily. That’ll give you some idea of the things I’m doing on a regular basis.