Intern Diaries: Keeping up with NewsON

Grady journalism students Alison Menhart and Lauren Sloan are interning this summer at NewsON, a start-up media company based in Atlanta. Menhart’s internship is partially funded by Grady’s Cox Institute for Journalism Innovation, Management and Leadership, and Sloan’s internship is funded through a grant from the Scripps Howard Foundation.

Grady’s Intern Diaries caught up with the busy pair to find out about their experiences so far:

1) What is NewsON?

Alison: Well that question is easy: the company serves as a platform to stream over 141 (and counting!!) local news stations nationwide. Essentially, that means viewers are able to watch local news wherever and whenever they want through our mobile app and Roku channel. The app allows students like us to stay informed about what is happening in our local cities even though we’re far from home.

2) What are your responsibilities as interns?

Lauren: To be honest, we are included in just about everything here at NewsON. In less than a month, this internship has gone way beyond the digital realm we both originally expected. We’ve had the opportunity to be a part of many NewsON “firsts.” Together as interns, we launched the first ever “Featured Five” broadcast. This weekly video sums up the top five stories in about a minute to give viewers a quick recap of the week’s most important events. We’ve also contributed to the company’s new blog with our own original content as well as launched a Snapchat for the company.

Grady interns Alison Menhart (left) and Lauren Sloan with NewsON CEO Louis Gump. (Photo: Keith Herndon)

We are also spending a lot of time working in the marketing space as we help run promotions with outside vendors like Roku and our local affiliate stations. We’ve also created original content for these promotions to be put out in the social world. We even had our writing featured at 11 of our affiliate stations (Yay!). We’ve developed a variety of social media strategies to help build the digital presence and bring even more brand awareness to NewsON.

3) What are your goals for the rest of the summer?

Alison: This summer we hope to double the NewsON social media following and increase engagement with our user base by 25 percent. We are interested in not only improving our own skillset, but we want to use those skills to bring even more brand awareness to NewsON. We are invested in helping NewsON become a digital news leader. One of the ways we are planning to do that is by continuing to improve on our weekly “Featured Five” videos through effective visual and verbal storytelling.

We have also taken an interest in the marketing side of the business. We hope to continue showcasing our own creativity as we promote new stations and features on the app. We both really value the effect our work is having on the company overall. We want to continue to see how our efforts translate into growth.

4) Why NewsON?

Lauren: Why NOT NewsON, that’s the better question.  Not only do our ideas matter here, but we matter here. They want us to grow just as much as the company; you don’t see that everyday. Our voices hold weight here at NewsON. We are welcomed into the daily 9:30 A.M. meeting as equals, not just as interns. We make announcements, share ideas and bring innovation to forefront of our responsibilities. Since the company is so young, we also have the rare opportunity of seeing the direct and immediate impacts we have helped create. It truly is a once in a lifetime experience and we are so grateful to have such a rewarding opportunity. Thanks, NewsON!

More about NewsON: The company’s investors include the ABC Owned Television Station Group, Cox Media Group, Hearst Television, Hubbard Broadcasting, Media General, Raycom Media, and Sinclair Broadcasting. Additional content partners include Berkshire Hathaway, Graham Media Group, TEGNA, Nexstar and Meredith. TV stations from these companies give NewsON users access to live and on-demand newscasts from 141 stations in 99 U.S. markets, covering 80 percent of the US population with more stations being added regularly. 

Date: June 30, 2016