This summer, I interned in the public relations department at WHDH-7 News in Boston, Massachusetts. The experiences I’ve encountered were unforgettable.
Every day, I would check the voicemails and e-mails because there is always a message, typically about how someone is upset about something. Sometimes, the voicemails were funny and interesting to listen to. Other times, it was scary. I’ve had voicemails that congratulated the station and voicemails that trashed the station. I’ve, at one point, received a threatening voicemail that actually scared me.
But whether it was a bad or good voicemail or e-mail, this was the experience I wanted to get. I wanted to connect with the station’s viewers and that’s how they voice their opinions.
A majority of my work was researching events in and around the Boston area to put on our website’s community calendar. I looked at school districts, city hall events, museums and more.
One of the more interesting aspects of my internship was that I was able to go to a station-sponsored event and walk around with one of the anchors. This was an amazing experience because in the community relations department, one of our jobs is to represent the station at these events. I had become the face of the station to the community and it made me feel like I was actually trusted in the department.
Another job I did while at the station was watching Public Service Announcements (PSA). My task was to watch and critique the PSAs and decide whether or not it would make it on air. That was another point that I felt that I had responsibility, because I was deciding if people watching our channel would be seeing the PSA that I had critiqued.
The last major thing that I did at the station was conduct station tours. I assisted my supervisor with the tour and helped lead the group through the studio. My work with KSC-TV definitely helped with this because I was able to answer a lot of questions that I otherwise wouldn’t have known.
Overall, I was overcome with excitement at the opportunity to take on this internship. It was surreal seeing the station in-person and even seeing some of the anchors and reporters that I grew up watching. I was able to go down to the anchor desk, walk around the entire building freely and talk with some of the staff about what I should be doing to get into that field.
On campus, I’ve done almost everything in the television studio. I’ve been on camera, a reporter, a producer, a director and helped the intro courses learn the ways of the studio. But, I never got a behind the scenes look at television. I didn’t get to experience, on campus, what it’s like to receive the public’s opinions and suggestions and really understand what the viewer wants to see. With this internship, I got that experience. And I wouldn’t trade it for the world.
Justin Mahan can be contacted at email@example.com