After weeks of anticipation, the first day of my internship was finally here! While no one likes hearing their alarm go off at 4:30 in the morning, the hustle and bustle of the morning shift gives you an energy boost to last you for six hours. As an intern, I have the ability to go out in the field and assist reporters on various interviews. Although I have not had the opportunity yet, I frequently check the assignment list on the newsroom computer to get the chance.
While I’m only on the third day of my internship, I have already seen how much work and effort goes into making a newsroom function. I was able to spend an hour in the traffic room to get a glimpse of how the traffic room operates, how the traffic reporters get their information, and see the reporters go live on air to report traffic updates. The traffic room appears overwhelming at first, with the several television screens and ongoing chatter from police radios. I asked one of the reporters, “how do you stay concentrated on reporting the traffic with all the noise?” She told me headphones help, but that she got used to it after a while. Traffic reporters go live on the 8s of every hour to update drivers on the road. It was roughly 10:45 in the morning and the traffic in D.C. was still congested, making me grateful for leaving my house at 5:30 in the morning, allowing me to miss all the traffic.
After leaving the traffic room, I was surprised with a writing and current events test. The writing test required me to choose three stories out of the newspaper and write out a 30-second spot in conversation-like dialogue. I was given the current events test, which did not worry me at first as I grew accustomed to taking them in my copy editing class in the spring, but they never consisted of 50 questions. The test contained questions about naming the current senators and governors of Maryland and Virginia, details about the Supreme Court, naming international cities, and more. I did not get a perfect score by any means, but my site supervisor explained most people don’t and the test is practice for aspiring journalists hoping to work for WTOP.
Afterwards, I was given the task of researching upcoming events in Washington, D.C. to post on the WTOP website for readers and people living in the area. The following day, I edited the material I found and made it live on the website. I felt as an intern I made a contribution, although small.
I’m looking forward to all the tasks that lie ahead, even if I have to be in some mornings prior to 5 a.m. Ah, the life of a journalist.