When asked to write a short blog entry on my experience as a Nightly News intern, I paused to wonder how I might condense all I learned, observed and generally absorbed this summer into a few paragraphs. Maybe the best approach to describe my "Summer at Nightly" would be to acknowledge a key concepts that I have a new appreciation for.
Time. I discovered that it was not unusual to see Brian writing late copy five minutes before air or for a producer to receive a brand new story in the late afternoon and have a perfect package cut just hours later. While this might encourage my habit of procrastination at school, it does reveal the ability of Nightly to piece together 23 minutes of news in the most efficient and intelligent way. The producers and correspondents amazed me with their ability to tell an important story in such short periods of time.
Perseverance. While "I'll try my best" always seemed like an acceptable answer to me, it is not one often heard in the newsroom. Trying your best is assumed; getting what is needed is expected. Producers and researchers valued our intelligence and trusted that we could dig up the necessary information or source for the story. Talking to complete strangers helped me significantly in developing an enhanced set of communication skills. Unexpectedly, many of the individuals I spoke to somehow strengthened my faith in humanity. It seemed many wanted to help in my quest for information and connect to the institution of Nightly News.
Passion. Each member of the Nightly team possesses the utmost love for not just the news but knowledge of the world. The determination of the entire staff to produce a flawless newscast was inspiring; I've never witnessed that dynamic at any other organization. Executive producer John Reiss begins his daily construction of the newscast well before I'm on the train into the city. I remain in awe of Senior Foreign Producer ML Flynn and her extreme dedication not only to topnotch journalism but also to each of her correspondents. She has the uncanny ability to use her motherly-like attitude to calm the members of her international team while also demanding the best from them. A lukewarm fondness for journalism does not cut it at Nightly. It's their ardent passion for informing others, it's their unbelievable aptitude to tell stories and it's their commitment to getting it right that has fittingly placed these individuals at the very top of their profession.
If the passion for the news I describe above is contagious, well, I've been bitten hard. I surprised myself with how quickly I fell in love with working at Nightly. It was astounding to discover I was actually eager to transcribe tapes and even rise at 5:30 a.m. to log the early morning call. Why wasn't I complaining about getting four hours of sleep a night or skipping lunch to research a story? The answer was simple -- I loved it all. Although obviously reluctant to end my internship, I leave with great friendships, clear goals in mind and a definitive ambition (OK, obsession) to be back here one day.