Sadly, my summer internship at WTOP has come to a close today as I prepare to enter my fourth and final year at High Point University. It has been an amazing nine weeks and I’ve gained so much through my experiences inside and outside the newsroom through interviews, shadowing and writing practice.
Highlights of my internship include hearing interviews I recorded on the radio, various trips to the Smithsonian National Zoological Park to get sneak peeks of exotic animals and cover their debuts, attending the “Living Artfully” press preview at one of my favorite museums, the Hillwood Estate, sitting in on the Operation iGuardian news conference at the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Headquarters, and witnessing the sentencing of Thomas Gore, a former campaign aide to D.C.’s mayor, Vincent Gray, at the E. Barrett Prettyman United States Federal Courthouse.
I’ve learned a lot from this internship, including how passionate I truly am about journalism. No two work days are the same, as breaking news occurs each day, all over the world. There is always news I can read about and cover, never leaving me bored at my desk. I have also learned how crucial it is to be on time and not procrastinate. Journalists revolve their days around deadlines, so distraction is not an option. Not only are deadlines important, but keeping time limits in mind are also crucial when working in a newsroom because even if a piece is two seconds over, it’s too long. Timing is key in radio, and I have found myself rewriting an entire reader or write-around because I struggled with editing the piece in order to maintain the time limit.
I am very pleased with this internship as it is very hands-on and requires its interns to apply what they’ve previously learned to assignments that may be heard or seen by thousands of readers and listeners. I’ve had interviews I recorded used for on-air stories, written readers for anchors to read on air, and contributed to the website when needed.
I am proud to say I had one of the best internships an aspiring journalist could have (and not once was I ever asked to get coffee!). I am approaching my senior year ready to take on my last few journalism courses in order to complete my major and look forward to applying what I learned as an intern to the classroom.