Grady InternViews: DonA Traylor-Askew
Briefly describe your internship and your responsibilities:
My internship was 10 weeks. I spent the first five weeks on Sportscenter and the second five weeks with NBA Today. I was responsible for cutting clips for the shows. Most days I was assigned other jobs along with cutting clips, such as running the teleprompter, sorting scripts for on air talent, or organizing highlight shot sheets. I also had the chance to observe most of the positions necessary to bring a studio show together including the producer, director, graphics producer, research assistant and the technical director.
What is the most valuable lesson you’ve learned?
The most valuable lesson I learned during my internship was to always ask questions. At first, I was tentative about always being the one to ask for clarification or further explanation. There were so many moving parts to the shows I was working on that I always wanted to know how and why things worked the way they did. I felt like everyone would be so tired of having to explain to the intern, but I quickly learned that they were always excited for me to ask questions. Instead of finding it annoying, they found that it showed my genuine interest and engagement.
How will this role guide your future career path?
This role showed me that I have a greater appreciation for the content production side of broadcast than I originally thought. During my time in Grady, I have enjoyed creating feature packages, conducting video interviews and related tasks, but I think in the back of my mind, an on-air role was still at the forefront of my career aspirations. While this is still true in some sense, as I would love an on-air role in some capacity, after this internship. I also think I’d be much more content working in the content side of broadcast to start off.
What has been your favorite part about your internship?
My favorite part of my internship would have to come down to an incredible moment that I will literally never forget. I have been an admirer of Malika Andrews for quite a while, as she is such an inspiration to me as a young black woman in the sports broadcast industry. She is the host of NBA Today, so I had the chance to work with her. In my second week there, my role for the day was to operate the teleprompter. She called me out to set about 10 minutes before we went on air and asked what career interests I have. I explained that I am loving the content production, but that I could see myself in an on-air role one day. She proceeded to ask me to sit at the desk, explaining which camera would be mine if I was her cohost. Then, the two of us went through over half of the show script together like co-anchors. She gave me a couple pointers on small things I could improve moving forward, but commended me on a job well done (especially since she caught me off guard). It was absolutely insane. I couldn’t believe it was happening, and was fully convinced I was dreaming (except there is photo evidence).
How have the classes you’ve taken at Grady prepared you for this internship?
The classes I have taken in the Grady Sports Media Institute couldn’t have prepared me better for the work I’d have the chance to do with ESPN. Hands-on work editing feature packages and learning to take quick direction and think on my feet from classes like Sportsource had me as ready as could be. I think the most difficult adjustment for me was learning where everything was in my new environment, including learning the basic regulations of cutting clips and finding footage, and getting used to a new editing software–which is only used by ESPN. These are all situational challenges. My Grady experiences allowed for utmost preparation otherwise.
What advice would you give to students who are looking to pursue similar opportunities?
My advice to students who are looking for similar opportunities would be to take advantage of every other opportunity they have leading up to this one and always give their best effort. Sometimes, it can feel like the small reporting or video package assignment you have is unimportant. But, this could be the very piece of work that puts you in a hiring manager’s line of sight. Even if a project isn’t perfect, sometimes if it is clear from all perspectives that you really worked hard, that effort will overshadow any imperfections and open the door for other opportunities.
Editor: Ashley Balsavias, firstname.lastname@example.org