Grady InternViews: Julianna Russ

This is part of a series where we ask Grady College students to describe their summer internship experience.  

Julianna Russ is a fourth-year journalism student working with the CNN Documentary Unit as part of the Warner Bros Discovery Internship Program. Read on as she provides insight into what this internship looks like.

Briefly describe your internship and responsibilities.

I am an intern with the CNN documentary unit in Atlanta which is part of the Warner Bros. Discovery internship program! We produce CNN’s series, “The Whole Story with Anderson Cooper,” which airs every Sunday at 8 p.m. ET. In this role, I’ve compiled research about the subjects of our documentaries, cleaned up interview transcripts, searched for archival footage, logged new footage and more. Overall, I provide support for the documentary unit staff wherever necessary.

What does the structure of your internship look like?

My internship is hybrid, 40 hours per week. I come into the office Tuesday through Thursday, and I work from home on Mondays and Fridays.

What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced?

The biggest challenge has been putting myself out there! This internship is full of learning opportunities, but I have to be very proactive. Asking for work and making it clear that I am available to assist on projects has been key so far!

student standing in front of a CNN sign
Russ works as an intern with CNN to produce the series, “The Whole Story with Anderson Cooper.” (Photo: Submitted)
What has been your favorite part about your internship so far? Tell us a story if you have one!

When there is a breaking story, we only have two or three days’ notice to produce a full-length episode about it. It is all hands on deck through the weekend, and the whole team drops everything to get it out on time. This typically only happens a few times per year, but in the first month of my internship, it has already happened twice. These long weekends have been my favorite part of the internship because they are high energy, I am assigned a lot of work, and I get to be part of the production process from start to finish. That isn’t the case with most of our long-form projects because they are in production for months at a time.

How have the classes you’ve taken at Grady prepared you for this internship?

My Grady classes have helped me feel comfortable in a professional environment. This is my first time working in an office setting, but I don’t feel intimidated. Instead, the professional etiquette I’ve learned so far at Grady has helped me feel confident moving through the workplace. Additionally, I rely on the discipline of verification to constantly guide me as I conduct research and make decisions, no matter how small. This is a core tenet that my journalism classes have drilled into me and I’m very grateful.

What’s your advice to other students looking for a similar opportunity?

The best thing you can do is put yourself out there. Don’t limit yourself; if you think something you are applying to is a long shot, apply anyway. Make a company say no to you, don’t say no to yourself first! You will never get your dream job if you don’t give yourself a chance. Also, make sure that you are truly interested in the position you’re applying for. Authenticity goes a long way during the interview stage!

How will this role guide your future career path?

This role has set a new standard for me in terms of what I will look for in future jobs. I’m walking away with a new understanding of the type of work environment I thrive in, the type of coworkers I want to be surrounded by, and the type of culture that will lead me to be the best storyteller possible. This internship showed me that despite what many people say, balancing your personal and professional life as a journalist is not only possible, but it is also necessary. I’m more excited than ever to enter the field and start my professional journey.

What’s your career goal?

While my goals are always fluctuating, I know that I want to plant myself in the realm of visual storytelling. I could see myself working as a producer in a unit much like this one, or as a director in a broadcast control room. I know I like long-form production and live event production, but I still need to explore broadcast news. With such a varied range of interests, I’m hopeful that I will eventually land somewhere that I love. My time at Grady so far has been instrumental in helping me figure out where I might fit best in the media world!

What lessons will you take back with you to the classroom in the fall?
Russ poses in front of the CNN sign. (Photo: Submitted)

The growth that I’ve experienced during this internship is already much greater than I ever expected. I think the main lesson I’ll take back to the classroom with me is that building a transferrable skillset is the most important way to stand out in this field. I’m going to focus on developing my individual skills to supplement my work in the classroom going forward.

How has this role helped you discover what you are passionate about?

I have always had an interest in documentary filmmaking, and this internship has shown me that there is an opportunity to do this type of work professionally. There are so many different paths in the media industry, and sometimes my interests have felt too niche to be a realistic career. In this case, I was able to find a workplace where the stories I’m most interested in telling are prioritized. It’s a really exciting discovery.

If you could give your younger self one piece of advice, what would it be?

Don’t let rejection get to you. When I started applying to internships, I was just looking for an opportunity to tell stories. I got rejected from most places (including from an internship at my hometown newspaper, which was especially painful). I started to feel like I might not find any place to land for the summer. When I found this position with the CNN documentary unit posted online, it seemed too good to be true. I applied without even expecting to get an interview. I was shocked when my dream internship ended up being the one that worked out. The right opportunities will come to you, and previous disappointment will make sense eventually. Don’t doubt yourself and don’t be discouraged along the way!

Grady Society Alumni Board Profile: Stephanie Gallman Jordan

We are grateful for the support and enthusiasm of our Grady Society Alumni Board members. This series profiles members of the alumni board who make a positive difference in our College.

Stephanie Gallman Jordan graduated from Grady College in 2002 with degrees in Telecommunications and English. After driving a big rig across the country for CMT, Jordan joined CNN, where she has been a tour guide, writer, assignment editor and producer.  Currently, Jordan is a Special Events Producer, covering the network’s biggest editorial events like the 2016 and 2020 Republican National Conventions, the 2017 Solar Eclipse and too many presidential summits, debates and town halls to count.

What advice do you have for today’s Grady College students?

My advice to Grady students is to never stop learning. Stay curious about people and the world. Surround yourself with interesting people and experiences that challenge you. Create a life that makes you happy inside your guts and not just because it gets you likes on social media.

Jordan interviews actor Tony Goldwyn at the White House Correspondents Dinner.
What experience during your time at Grady College had the biggest influence on where you are today?

Writing radio commentary and recording it for broadcast on WUGA and writing a full length film script are two Grady assignments that I was consumed by, in the best way. I would lose track of time working on them — something I never thought was possible for a school assignment. I fell in love with and grew confident with my storytelling and knew it was how I wanted to make a living.

Looking back at your time at Grady, is there anything you wish you had done (classes you had taken, skills you would have liked to have learned, clubs to be involved with) that would help you with what you are doing today?

I wish I would’ve gotten involved in Grady Newsource. I’m not sure what I was thinking or how I talked myself out of it, but the program is just so impressive and produces the best of the best in broadcast news. There was quite a bit of a learning curve I had to climb when I finally decided to lean into my love of news and join CNN.

What is your favorite place on campus and why?

Without question, North Campus.  I love its history and how little it has changed in the 20 years since I was a student. The grass stays green year-round and regardless of how many people are there, it always feels peaceful and serene to me, especially considering its juxtaposition to the lively downtown scene.

How has your field changed from your graduation to now?

Two words: Social. Media. Social media has changed how we tell stories and how we consume them — literally anyone with a phone and a Twitter account can call themselves a journalist.  While this has made finding stories and content easier, it has made vetting those stories and content even more challenging. Just because it’s on the Internet doesn’t make it true and it’s imperative that journalists go beyond what they see, beyond what the loudest voices are screaming to really get the full context of what’s happening.

Grady InternViews: Abbey Clark

This is part of a series where we ask Grady College students to describe their summer internship experience.

Briefly describe your internship and responsibilities.

I stay up to date on news specifically to the states in the Southeast. My day begins with sending the summary I worked on the previous night of any top headline reports for the states in the Southeast. Throughout the day, I assist producers and anchors with any stories they may be working on.  We also have at minimum two daily meetings with the entire Southeast bureau team and ad hoc thereafter.  The job involves a lot of researching, writing and cold calling to get the right facts!

It is a remote internship as of now but generally is in person! Virtual has been nice because I am with my family, but I would really love the experience to work at CNN Center in Atlanta. I have been invited by leaders of the SE Bureau team to visit the office when I return to Georgia!

What has been the biggest surprise in your internship (ie: is there anything you didn’t expect?)

What surprised me the most is the amount of news that is out there and what is required to get a news story on the air.

What is the most valuable lesson or skill you have learned during your internship?

Flexibility and eagerness to learn is key in being successful in this internship and I think with most jobs overall.

What has been the most memorable experience you have had during your internship so far?

I remember my second day at CNN I was asked to help Ryan Young, a CNN Correspondent, on a summer violence surge happening throughout the country and I had to cold call police departments throughout the southeast states and watch press conferences from the departments as well. It took me about four hours and hundreds of calls to gather all the information, but I did it and I was featured as a contributor in the byline of the article. 

What do you think made you stand out while applying for the job and what qualities do you have that are helping you succeed?

I think the diversity in things I am involved in or have experience with really helped me stand out. I have a certification in digital media arts and have numerous jobs pertaining to customer service, technology, retail, film, social media and more. Diversifying yourself with lots of skills is very important to stand out to a company showing that you are a fast learner and open to opportunity with everything you do.

Information about the internship from WarnerMedia: Ted Turner is the visionary who launched CNN. Since that day, the world has never been the same. The Ted Turner Maverick Internship is designed for the next generation of “mavericks” who will shape the journalism world to come. It’s designed to offer maximum exposure to CNN, while preparing the intern to lead the way into the new era of news and storytelling. Since 2020, one Grady College student has been selected by WarnerMedia and CNN as a Maverick Intern each summer.

#ProfilesOfTenacity: Kyra Posey

What is the best piece of advice you’ve received from an instructor/mentor/family member?

In my capstone course in the fall of 2020, Professor Dodie Cantrell-Bickley told us to try our hand at multiple platforms in order to tell our stories — video, audio, data journalism, etc. She said that we should try these even if we had never before because, as she said, “the weakest muscles need to be exercised.” She repeated this a few times in the semester, and it’s something that really encouraged me to try new ways to tell stories. In my career after graduation, I think I’ll always remember that it’s okay to try new things, even if it’s scary!

Why did you choose Grady and your course of study?

I knew that I wanted to be in the field of journalism when I entered college, and I knew that Grady’s program had produced many success stories. I was inspired by my upperclassmen friends who said the professors at Grady were some of the best they had ever had, and I could tell I would have an incredible support system here. It turns out that they were right — my faculty mentors have come from the school, and I’ve been able to hone in on my journalistic skills under their advice and leadership.

What is your favorite app or social media channel?

My favorite app is definitely TikTok. So many incredible stories can be told on that platform, and it’s so addicting.

What is your most memorable Grady experience?

My most memorable Grady experience was studying abroad at Trinity College in Oxford, England. Ivanka Pjesivac was our professor teaching international communications, and while we were there, we were able to visit London’s CNN Bureau and the Reuter’s Institute in Oxford. Learning about international communications and speaking with some of the best in professional communications was an incredible hands-on learning experience, and it really opened my eyes to the global news flow. Professor Pjesivac really prioritized telling us about global communications across multiple fields (advertising, entertainment, journalism and more), and I’m not sure if I ever would have chosen a course like that unless I had studied abroad. Plus, I made some of my closest friends there.

What would people be surprised to know about you?

I only have one kidney that was removed when I was 4 years old, and because it was removed when I was so young, my other kidney grew twice the size of a normal adult’s kidney. It’s a super kidney!

What has been your proudest moment in the past year?

In fall 2020, I placed third in the Associated Collegiate Press’ Multimedia category for my work on The Red & Black’s podcast, “The Front Page.” I covered a week of protests for racial justice happening in Athens last summer. I worked really hard on that podcast and that episode specifically, and I was so glad that this important story was recognized.

What are you passionate about?

I’m passionate about storytelling, and I want to apply my skills to support compelling narratives. This can really be seen in how I’ve applied my skills to my work throughout the years — I moved from reporter to podcast producer to social media editor at The Red & Black, where I learned how my skills could support the organization I worked for. Now, as CNN Audio’s marketing intern, I’ve learned how to use marketing and my communication skills in order to support world class storytelling. Plus, you can always find me listening to a podcast or reading through the headlines. I love consuming stories and great journalism!

What or who has had the biggest impact on your life during your time at UGA?

The Red & Black has had the biggest impact on my life during my undergraduate career. It is truly the best place to hone in on your journalistic skills. While Grady’s courses provide essential training, having the ability to work in a professional newsroom is invaluable. I was able to find out what I was truly interested in when I moved up from contributor to a member of the editorial board. I eventually pitched, produced and marketed The Red & Black’s podcast “The Front Page,” and talking about that experience led me to a role at CNN Audio. I now hope to pursue post-graduate opportunities in podcasting and radio. If it weren’t for The Red & Black, I’m not sure if I ever would have discovered this interest.

Where is your favorite place on campus?

North Campus is my favorite place on campus. When it gets warm, my favorite thing to do is get milk tea from Bubble Café downtown and study on the North Campus lawn. After I leave Athens, it’ll definitely be the thing I miss the most.

What has been the hardest part about adjusting to COVID-19 in your life as a student and future professional?

The hardest thing about COVID-19 has been everything being virtual. Last semester, I had major Zoom fatigue, and I found it hard at times to stay motivated. However, something that has been an upside to this virtual environment is that you can really connect with anyone in the world! I’ve been able to network with people in New York, and at CNN, I frequently network with people that I might have never met if the internship wasn’t virtual. 

Grady Intern Diaries: Stanley D. Miller III

This is part of a series where we ask Grady College students to describe their summer internship experience.

For others in the series, please see:
Connor Foarde, The Washington Time
Kendall Lake, New America’s Open Technology Institute
Christopher Mays, Citi
Charlotte Norsworthy, NPR
Brittany Paris, Dateline NBC
Maxime Tamsett, CNN

Name: Stanley D. Miller III
Major: Journalism and Political Science
Minor: Communication Studies
Title of Internship: “Early Start” and “New Day” Intern at CNN
Location: New York, New York

Stanley on the set of “New Day” at CNN.

Grady College: Briefly describe your internship and responsibilities:
Stanley Miller: For this internship I often pulled POVs, SOTs, alerted guests in guestbook, updated contact lists in INEWS, booked cars, crews and flash studios, printed and distributed scripts and transcribed clips.

GC: What is the biggest challenge you faced during your internship?
S.M.: The biggest challenge was adjusting my sleep patterns. Since “Early Start” and “New Day” are morning shows, my shifts switched every two weeks. During the shift when I worked with the segment producers and bookers, I had to be at work at 3:30 p.m. However, for the shift where I worked on set, I had to be at work at 1:30 a.m.

GC: What was the best part about your summer internship?
S.M.: The best part about my summer internship was getting the chance to work with and learn from some of the greatest writers, producers, cameramen and anchors in this industry.

GC: What is the most memorable experience you had during your internship?
S.M.: There were so many but my most memorable experience was attending an intern town hall with the president of CNN Worldwide, Jeff Zucker. Getting the opportunity to ask him questions about the industry and hearing his insight on its direction and the political climate as it relates to news was an experience I’ll never forget.

GC: What is the most valuable lesson or skill you learned during your internship?
S.M.: The most valuable lesson I learned is the importance of understanding the company you work at and forming relationships with your colleagues. During my internship I was able to get to know many of my colleagues and they were always willing to help me. I also had the exciting opportunity to shadow our anchor producers, writers and cameramen. I have to thank them for being open to show me what they do and how it contributes to the execution of each show.

GC: What advice would you give to a student looking for an internship?
S.M.: My advice is to start looking and apply early. Also, reach out to the Career Center, professors or anyone who can give you feedback regarding your applications, writing samples and resume.

GC: How did your internship help confirm your desired career path or make you re-evaluate what you want to do in the future?
S.M.: This internship fueled me to continue being persistent in attaining my journalism career goals. Since CNN is a global news network, as an intern I noted all the work it takes to execute coverage worldwide. Therefore, witnessing this has inspired me to continue working hard so that one day I can also be a key player in this industry.

“Stanley with Alisyn Camerota and John Berman, the anchors of “New Day”

GC: When you look back on your internship 10 years from now, what part of your summer internship do you expect to be most thankful for?
S.M.: I will be most thankful for the exposure this internship provided me. Having the chance to meet so many wonderful people from all different backgrounds who share the same passion for news was unforgettable. Furthermore, it was exciting to intern at a global news network that is recognized anywhere in the world due to its coverage and wide-reach. I learned so much and interning at CNN allowed me to be a witness to history in a time where the political landscape is changing and will be talked about for generations to come. Therefore, as a journalism student and history buff, having the chance to be in the midst of this all will be unforgettable, even sixty years from now. Interning on “New Day” allowed me to witness some of the world’s most notable political analysts, anchors and correspondents talk about the biggest topics in news. For example, I assisted with the execution of interviews with high profile guests by alerting former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and escorting interviewees such as Maggie Haberman and Alex Burns of the New York Times, Laura Coates and CNN anchors such as Bill Weir and Mayor Rudi Giuliani to set.  I also followed the coverage of the stories each guest discussed on our show. Therefore, having the chance to assist with executing these interviews in any capacity whether through research, escorting or alerting was a very fulfilling experience.