KUER’s Dan Bammes, host of Morning Edition, asked me today, to write the proverbial “What I did on my summer vacation.” Now, what he really wants is thoughts on my internship with the station. So I thought what better way to do this than making a triumphant return to the blog. A perfect reason to force me to post.
However cliché the, “What I did on summer vacation,” may sound, it is somewhat correct. While the past three months may have officially been called, “Summer vacation.” it certainly didn’t feel like one and I couldn’t be more pleased.
Coming off spending four months in Argentina, I was looking to get back in the swing of things. Get back to the newsroom environment and most of all, get back to reporting in English. Argentina was challenging not only because it required reporting and writing in Spanish, but the newsroom environment was much more relaxed compared to the rigor of everyone’s first Missourian reporting semester.
I was looking for internship that gave me some autonomy, but also had ready guidance and mentorship. There’s always the fear that you get stuck in front of a computer posting news releases online, without ever getting to know an editor. I will admit I was a bit tentative thinking about working at a radio station. I wasn’t very tech-savvy with anything radio related. But like going in to many new things, there’s always that bit of hesitation.
That hesitation lasted about all of one week here at KUER. Thanks to the station’s News Director, Terry Gildea, I became quickly acclimated to a radio station. There are a few things that contributed to this;
1: Working with another intern who had previous experience with radio. Going out and reporting stories with Todd for the first few weeks really helped me learn the basics of creating radio-quality copy.
2: Terry and Dan. The two of them teach a radio journalism class at the University of Utah. I think this helped in how they treated new interns and didn’t just ignore me at the start.
3: The last and probably most important is the environment of KUER’s newsroom. It’s relatively small, with five full time reporters, two interns, and one part-time freelancer. This allowed for me, in an internship position, to start contributing immediately and learn from the staffers who had years of experience. I was able to work directly with the director, Terry, which I don’t think would have been possible in other internships.
Everyone in the newsroom was willing to help out and work as a team, which I think is important for any newsroom. I never felt like it was an individual effort and loved how everyone was willing to help the rest of the news team. Journalism isn’t always about yourself, it’s about the news and working as a team is the best way to do that news. The camaraderie was similar to the Missourian, which is exactly what I needed to get back to all things U.S. centric.
I took what I learned from my semester at the Missourian, mainly putting myself out there, and ended up with a fantastic internship. For any future interns looking at KUER, I highly recommend it as it will provide you with great reporting opportunities and chances to get on the air. Plus, it’s public radio!
Coming up in Part II: Behind the scenes of my feature with the Department of Corrections and how to deal with bureaucratic beat-down.