This is part of a series where we asked Grady College students to describe their internship experiences during the summer. To see pictures of our Grady students interning, please see our #GradyInternDiaries social media collection.
Other Grady Intern Diary interviews can be viewed here: Nicole Chrzanowski | Kelsey Ann Williams | Jamari Jordan
Name: Kalyn Wilson
Title of Internship: Production Intern
Company: ABC News Radio
Location: New York, NY
1. Describe a typical workday in your internship.
There was no such thing as a typical day in the newsroom! Some days I went in and literally waited around for an assignment. Some days, I never even saw my desk. Typical tasks for me included writing articles for the web, re-writing scripts for air, writing original scripts for a medical feature, transcribing scripts, editing audio pieces, researching possible stories, interviewing people on the street about certain topics, helping manage audio levels for in-studio interview and even covering events. The list goes on.
2. What was the biggest challenge you faced at your internship?
The biggest challenge I faced was sometimes being underutilized at times. There were times, mainly when local news breaks, that everyone was very busy and no one had an assignment for me. While there are other times when it seems everybody had an assignment for me, there were still days when I had nothing to do. But those were the times that I started to research possible stories to pitch, looked over what was going on the world or listened to previous work to get an idea on how I could improve myself. What I've learned is that I should just be patient during those times and eventually, someone (or everyone) will have something exciting for me to do.
3. What was the most influential experience or most important skill you learned at your internship?
My most important experience was interviews. It taught me numerous skills for dealing with people, articulating myself and getting the best information/sound bites from your source. Being thrown into Times Square in the middle of the day at the beginning of my internship pushed me to learn quickly new tricks of the trade when it comes to interviewing, and I loved it!
The most important skill I've learned were nothing to do with journalism. I learned the skill of confidence. There were times when I was nervous to write in a certain way, make a certain edit or even reach out to a certain person. But when I just took that chance, great things happened. That is how I ended up with an article published on the ABC News website, and how I was able to have networking lunches with some of ABC News' best and brightest leaders and correspondents.
4. What advice would you give to a student looking for an internship?
I would say work smart, not hard. I landed my internship by first being admitted to a career preparation program called Management Leadership for Tomorrow. This program not only trains and molds you for the workforce, but they also provide ample opportunities for fellows to personally network with recruiters from top-tier companies. While spaces in programs like this may be limited, there are always outlets that can help you get in the faces of those who would potentially hire you. Don't rely on the idea that if you send out 1,000 applications, you're bound to get an interview or an offer. Spend time actually meeting people — do things like intern for a day, go to mixers and events, join career programs — and THAT'S how you increase your chances of getting a position. Relationships matter and you can't build them solely through a computer.
5. What part of your Grady education did you find most valuable during your internship?
Everything I've learned in my reporting and production class. Journalism is a very technical field as well as an instinctual one. That means that there are tried-and-true rules to the writing, interviewing and editing you do everyday on your job. Those really helped when it comes to practical performance. However, things like news judgment and timeliness are things that are instinctual, but are skills that I, too, have had to practice in class. They really came in handy and helped me to excel on the job.
August 25, 2015