This is part of a series where we ask Grady College students to describe their summer internship experience.
Grady College: Briefly describe your internship and responsibilities.
KL: Spoke Media is a podcast production company, and because it’s still pretty small, I’ve been able to wear a lot of different hats. Spoke’s work includes producing its own original content and working on shows for clients or brands. I spend most of my time working on So, Bob, a show about the unintended consequences of technology, but I’ve been able to spend time with a lot of other projects too. I was even able to help out with a show that was #1 in the Apple Podcasts charts for a few weeks, Wondery’s Man in the Window. Like most jobs, my tasks are different day-to-day, but you can often find me transcribing audio, building an episode of a show in an audio editor, running a session in our recording booth, or preparing questions for upcoming interviews.
Grady: What was your favorite part about your summer internship?
KL: My favorite part of this internship is that I so rarely felt like an “intern.” Of course there were some training wheels my first couple of weeks, but after that I had responsibilities that truly made me feel like a member of the team. My coworkers and supervisor constantly make me feel valued and appreciated for the work I do, and that work actually feels useful. Even when my tasks are small and menial (cough, transcribing), I take pride in knowing that my work and time are still essential to the finished product. Now that I’m reaching the end of the summer, someone makes a joke every couple of days about how I’m never allowed to leave or I should just drop out of school and stay at Spoke forever. While I’m excited to come back to UGA and finish the end of my program, I’ve really loved being a part of the Spoke family.
Grady: What was the biggest surprise in your internship (ie: is there anything you didn’t expect?)
KL: Coming from my Grady journalism background, I’ve always thought of podcasting as a medium largely full of journalists. But when I arrived at Spoke, I found out there was only one other person with a journalism background, and half the office actually majored in theater! Because podcasting is just another form of storytelling, their theater training means my coworkers can craft wonderful, compelling stories for your ears, and their improv experience means they make me laugh more than I ever have at work before. Of course, I’m a Grady grad; I still think journalism training is essential for a lot of podcasts. But now I understand that these two perspectives are important halves to a whole.
Grady: What part of your Grady education did you find most valuable during your internship?
KL: As a tech lover (hey, New Media Institute!) with training in journalism, working on So, Bob has been a great fit for me. I’ve been able to implement knowledge and hard skills from what I learned at Grady, from being able to understand a conversation about Section 230 (thanks, Dr. Lee) to doing background research on sources and preparing interview questions. My biggest ongoing responsibility has been managing 25+ interviews with sources for the next season of So, Bob, and I definitely give some credit to Dr. Bright’s housing capstone class for my ability to balance so many projects and people at once.
Grady: How did your internship help confirm your desired career path or make you re-evaluate what you want to do in the future?
KL: I’ve been an avid podcast listener over the last five years or so, but I’d never thought too deeply about it as a career. I’d had some experience with audio journalism (shoutout to André Gallant’s Multiplatform Story Production class), but I didn’t know a lot about what the industry was actually like. Working at Spoke was an amazing introduction to all the steps that go into creating a well-produced podcast. Early podcasting has the reputation of just being a couple of people sitting around a microphone, hitting record, and sending it out into the world, but it has become a very skilled craft. I could definitely see myself honing this craft and finding my place in the industry. And even if I end up elsewhere, I’ll have a new appreciation for every breath edit, music insert, and sound effect I hear in a podcast.
Grady: How will your summer internship affect the way you approach the rest of your time at UGA?
KL: As I head into my last year of the Emerging Media program, I know I’ll be taking an independent study. I want to use that time to explore the industry more fully, expanding my gaze outside the walls of Spoke. As much as I’ve loved my summer here, I know there’s a lot more out there! I’ll also work to create some audio features for my portfolio so that when graduation hits next spring I’ll have some experience all my own to show off.
Previous Grady Intern Diaries:
August 12, 2019 Editor:
Dayne Young, email@example.com