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 Times
Kendall Lake, New America’s Open Technology Institute
Christopher Mays, Citi
Charlotte Norsworthy, NPR
Brittany Paris, Dateline NBC
Name: Maxime Tamsett (AB ’18)
Major: Journalism and International Affairs
Title of Internship: International Newsgathering Desk Intern at CNN
Location: Atlanta, GA
Grady College: Briefly describe your internship and responsibilities:
Maxime Tamsett: As the International Newsgathering Desk Intern, I help researchers gather information needed for breaking and on-going stories for both broadcast and digital platforms. Along with being assigned regions of the world, researchers mind the hit times, updated content and safety of reporters based in those locations.
My responsibilities include gathering updates from wires, scouring social media for reactions from organizations and public figures, as well as looking for stories that we haven’t told yet. After being cleared through legal and ethics, I alert said content, which is then compiled for anchors, producers and reporters who make digital stories and video packages. I also answer phones, making sure to connect producers and reporters in the field to their assigned researchers as well as the Live Desk that connects reporter and guest video feeds to anchors for live television shows.
GC: What is the biggest challenge you have faced during your internship?
M.T: Simply comprehending how a global news organization like CNN operates is an ongoing learning experience. From the meetings where stories are assigned to different bureaus including Atlanta, Hong Kong, Abu Dhabi and London, to how each department (newsgathering, satellites, affiliate stations, digital and control rooms to name a few) interacts with one another, the sheer scale of collaboration is incredible. The most effective way for me to begin to understand it all was by asking questions and writing answers down on my handy-dandy notebook for referral later.
GC: What was the best part about your summer internship?
M.T.: The people I work with are without a doubt the best part of my internship. Not only was everyone kind and friendly, but they genuinely wanted me to succeed, whether said or implied. As I became familiar with the newsgathering desk, the pros generously gave me opportunities, and with those responsibilities, to contribute meaningful work, including company-wide news alerts and voiceovers for news packages. Everyone I interacted with acknowledged me with a smile and graciously answered all my questions, and boy I have a lot of them about pretty much everything. It’s true what they say; it’s the people you work with that make the organization.
GC: What is the most memorable experience you had during your internship?
M.T.: I would point to two occasions where my proficiency in French became a very real asset in the newsgathering process. On the Friday of my first week, I was asked by CNN’s D.C. Bureau to transcribe and translate part of French President Emmanuel Macron’s joint speech with Justin Trudeau at the G7 Summit. How could I say no?
The other occasion was when I called Mali’s Defense Ministry spokesperson to gather details of a reported attack in the country. As one of the only French speakers at the desk, both occasions underlined just how rewarding and valuable my foreign language skills were in contributing to the newsgathering process.
GC: What advice would you give to a student looking for an internship?
M.T.: Get involved early and be persistent. I attended panel discussions and career fairs my sophomore year onwards. I learned to be comfortable talking to public figures and potential employers who at the time appeared intimidating.
All the while, I got involved in student-run news organizations, including 90.5fm WUOG and The Red & Black newspaper, learning to become an effective journalist. Even though I applied to CNN in the past and did not hear anything back, that did not discourage me from trying again, which I’m so glad I did.
GC: What part of your Grady education did you find most valuable during your internship?
M.T.: When it came to this internship, Grady taught me how to be comfortable in uncomfortable situations. Whether it be talking to senior executives or asking professionals in a given department how to do something, I’ve learned to be comfortable asking questions to people I don’t know.
GC: How did your internship help confirm your desired career path or make you re-evaluate what you want to do in the future?
M.T.: It’s not often that you have the privileged opportunity to take part in an internship that fully encompasses all your studies during university into one experience. With that being said, interning at CNN has allowed me to better understand the pros and cons in both international and local news coverage, as well as the career opportunities available from each of them. This internship has confirmed that I feel most fulfilled when completing tasks that require me to pull knowledge from multiple disciplines including journalism, international affairs and foreign languages.
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?
M.T.: I believe it will be the people that I have met while at CNN. From their generosity and patience to guidance and willingness to share their expertise, I couldn’t have been more fortunate. I can only hope that in 10 years time I can be in a position to do the same.