Grady InternViews: Elizabeth Hunter
Grady InternViews: Elizabeth Hunter
This is part of a series where we ask Grady College students to describe their summer internship experience.
Elizabeth Hunter is a third-year journalism student working with Fox 5 Atlanta as a news intern. Read on as she provides insight into what this internship looks like.
I am working as a summer news intern at FOX 5 Atlanta. My main responsibility is to go out with different reporters and multi-media journalists while they work on their stories for the day. When I am out with them, I get to participate in the interviews they conduct, help them edit their package, shoot B-roll, write scripts and watch them go live. When the reporter/MMJ finishes, I get to record stand-ups of my own which will be great to add to my reel in the future!
What does the structure of your internship look like?
Every day is different, so I can’t really say that there is a specific structure, but that’s what makes news so exciting! I mainly work dayside from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m., but I have done nightside from 3 p.m. – 12 p.m., and I work Good Day Atlanta on Wednesdays from 6 a.m. – 2 p.m. The nice thing is that I get to create my own schedule based on what stories I want to help work on and what reporter/MMJ I want to work with!
What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced?
The most difficult thing has been putting myself in people’s faces and saying “Hey I’m the news intern, and I’m here to help and learn, so what can I do?” As an intern in a top 10 market, it is definitely easy to get lost in the newsroom. I’ve had to make sure I am making myself known to the assignment editor, executive producer and management editor, so that I can make those connections and get assigned tasks.
What has been your favorite part about your internship so far? Tell us a story if you have one!
My most memorable experience was getting to interview the Red Cross in Atlanta following an apartment fire that happened in Sandy Springs. The reporter I was assigned to that day also anchors the 12 p.m. show. The interview with the Red Cross was scheduled for 1 p.m., so I got sent with a photographer to interview the two Red Cross employees. I felt really accomplished when I asked the right questions to get the correct sound bites that were needed for the reporter’s package that aired for the 4, 5, 6, 10 and 11 p.m. shows.
How have the classes you’ve taken at Grady prepared you for this internship?
I am only one semester into Grady, but information gathering and reporting and writing have helped me look really impressive in certain situations. For example, I was out with a reporter covering a police officer coming home for the first time after she was shot in the head almost a year earlier. The reporter really wanted a statistic to go into his package that displayed the average healing period for a gunshot wound, and I was able to find one for him! And if it wasn’t for reporting and writing, I definitely wouldn’t be writing scripts and interviewing people right now. The volunteer opportunities I’ve had as a Grady Newsource volunteer and manager and as a part of Professor Cantrell’s political show gave me the confidence and knowledge I needed to make an impact in this internship position.
What’s your advice to other students looking for a similar opportunity?
APPLY. APPLY. APPLY. I kid you not, I did not even hear back from half the places I applied to. FOX 5 was one of the last places I applied to, but I am so glad I didn’t give up. I got an email about interviewing on a random Thursday and had the interview the next day. I heard a week later that I finally got the summer internship I wanted!
How will this role guide your future career path?
Oh my gosh, this internship has just solidified even more my love and want to do news. It has shown me the ups and downs of the news industry, but it really has prepared me for the unexpected. I was out with a reporter when breaking news happened and we had to go 45 minutes away to a completely different location to cover a developing story. It has also introduced me to producing, which I really had not even considered being for me until I sat down with a producer one day and helped put together the whole show.
What’s your career goal?
As of now, my career goal is to be a reporter that eventually works her way up to a reporting and anchoring position. I say reporting and anchoring because I still want to be able to find and tell the community’s stories even when I am anchoring. I want to have that connection with the community that I think can be lost if an anchor only sticks to behind the desk.
What lessons will you take back with you to the classroom in the fall?
I think the main lesson I will take back is don’t be closed off to just reporting. I need to learn every aspect possible of the newsroom. The best reporters I worked with at FOX 5 are great at their jobs because they understand the behind-the-scenes so well. I need to be both an MMJ and a producer to really ensure my success in this industry. I will no longer focus my efforts on just reporting, but also really take the opportunity to produce and direct as well.
How has this role helped you discover what you are passionate about?
This role has helped me develop my passion for truthful storytelling. FOX 5 fixes and apologizes for any mistake when they get something wrong. I have gotten to work with two reporters that are Emmy winners. Seeing how they have turned their passion into a career has really inspired me. I am so tired of hearing people criticize everything the media does, so I want to hone and cradle my passion for truthful storytelling so my viewers trust the stories and facts I am telling.
If you could give your younger self one piece of advice, what would it be?
You are not behind. You put a lot of pressure on yourself to know everything and be perfect, but the news industry is constantly changing, so that is legitimately not possible. You are just where you need to be, so trust the process and I promise you will get to where you are supposed to be.