“Nothing is a waste of time if you use the experience wisely.”
— Auguste Rodin
After interning for two weeks with Citytv, I’ve finally completed my work experience, and am heading towards the end of my semester.
It was a great last week. I did everything from research, to watching the live show from the floor, to going out with a reporter and cameraman to my first crime scene.
Unlike my experience with 24 Hours, I wasn’t put to work right away, and most days I felt like dead weight because there weren’t any opportunities to contribute. But by the end of my two weeks, I had put together two weeks worth of celebrity birthday questions and answers for the entertainment segment, I had researched the names, ridings and photos of the current MPs in the lower mainland and I had spent hours and hours researching archival footage and photos relating to the history of Vancouver.
I had also met my goal of somehow getting on TV. In fact, I did it thrice.
The first time was by accident: I was at a live-eye shoot, completely distracted by my horse allergies, and was too slow to move out of the shot. All that was seen was me, in my bright red coat, running out of the frame.
My second appearance was on Thursday. I was downtown at the Burrard skytrain station, waiting for an annoucement about the new transit fare card. It was just me and a camera, so I was filmed holding up a card replica, and was in the background of an interview holding a giant sign. Apparently, one of the hosts congratulated me on air afterwards, saying something along the lines of: “Give it up for our intern Hayley, she did a great job of holding that sign…”
My final appearance as an intern was on April Fool’s.
JackFM’s Larry and Willie have a contest going on, where 50 or so people have been given big cutouts of them, and have a list of things they need to do with the cardboard radio hosts for a chance to win $10,000. For example, they needed to get on TV.
During my two weeks, the station was bombarded with requests. I was asked to take a photo of a contestant with Dawn, and someone took a photo of me taking the photo. As a prank, Dawn rushed the JackFM station on Friday with an almost life-size cutout of her and Riaz. Leading up to the “attack,” BT showed clips and photos of the hosts posing with various contestants: My back was in one of them as the photo of me taking a photo was shown on air.
All in all, I learned a lot from watching professionals at work. I picked up interviewing techniques, and more subtler things like how to carry yourself on air, and how to emphasize your read.
Apart from being on camera, the closest I came to actually reporting was when I went out with two cameramen to get streeters. After watching for a bit, I was given the mic and allowed to ask people questions. I had done streeters before for classes, but the experience with BT was far better: People are much more willing to talk to you when you’re standing beside a Citytv van with a camera in tow.
I have five days of school left plus a final exam and then I’m done my second year of journalism studies. And in 22 days, I fly off to Alberta for my three-week military practicum.
Oh how time flies…
“It’s time to start living the life you’ve imagined.”
— Henry James
This week will be my last at Breakfast Television, as I am now just over two weeks away from finishing my second year at Kwantlen.
Last week was great: I went to two live-eye events, meaning I was on location and away from the station for two of the shows. I spent Wednesday morning with Dawn, who reported from Florence Nightingale elementary school in Vancouver where mayor Gregor Robertson was flipping pancakes for the KidSafe Project Society “Heroes Among us” breakfast.
On Thursday, I went to Kwantlen’s Cloverdale campus with Greg to learn about the school’s farrier program.
I learned a lot from being on location. Not only are you constantly faced with the challenges of broadcasting live (timing, changes, etc.), but you also have to make each segment different, visually and content-wise.
After three hours in a barn on Thursday (dying of allergies), I headed off to Cavalia for a pre-tape. Again, it was good to see how much planning and effort goes into making each clip unique and interesting.
Friday was a calmer day, and I was given an election project to work on.
I spent this weekend catching up on sleep, working on school projects and packing away my life. Having lived in a house with no tables and only two patio chairs, an air mattress and a baby grand piano on the main floor for what seems like ages, I’m looking forward to getting the move over with.
There are both good things and bad things about waking up a 3 a.m.
First off, it’s cold and quiet and pitch black outside. To be able to wake up so early also requires going to bed an hour or two after dinner. My stomach doesn’t know when to be hungry, and there seems to be no place in my schedule for going out and having a life.
The good things: There’s no traffic, and it’s nice to be the only person on the road. I get off work early and still have my day. And interning at a television station is, I think, worth losing a little sleep.
Today was my second day interning at Citytv. I started at 5:30 a.m. and watched what goes on behind the scene, and basically how the show gets put together. At one point, I got to stand several feet away from the news host, positioned so I could see him and the monitor he was reading off of. Had I been a foot to the right, my head would have been in the shot.
I sat in on a board meeting, where we went over next week’s content line-up. I also got to talk to several people about what they do: I’m trying to soak in everything.
Tomorrow, I get to tag along to an event where one of the hosts will be broadcasting live.
While at work, I got some exciting news. On a whim, I had decided to apply for a practicum course with the University of Athabasca. It’s a two-month online course about journalism in conflict zones. Only 10 applicants are accepted, and are required to have a minimum of three years experience in broadcasting: I have two years of education based primarily in print journalism.
Now for the really interesting part: The course includes a three-week practicum on a military base in Alberta. The 10 selected students get to work with two veteran journalists with experience in foreign correspondence as they follow the military through games and war simulations. From what I understand, there are Afghan villages set up, and the students endure the elements, interview “villagers” and soldiers and put together a 6 p.m. broadcast at the end of each day. It is physically demanding and requires a lot of work.
I’m almost positive my parents never thought that one of their daughters would one day ship off to join the army.
Surprise, surprise: On April 29th, I’m flying to Edmonton to live on a military base for 21 days.
After two relaxing weeks off from school, I began the second half of my four-week work experience today with Citytv’s Breakfast Television. (I had earned two-weeks worth of credits when I interned with 24 Hours Vancouver back in December.)
This time around, my internship experience was completely different.
For starters, I woke up at 4:20 a.m. to get to the Vancouver station for 7 a.m. Apart from taking a wrong turn, I didn’t get lost, and I found free parking just over a block away.
I watched the show for two hours (it runs from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. every morning) and learned a bit about the production process. I got to sit in the production room with the producer, director and the dozens of feeds from various cameras on- and off-location. I also spent time on the floor with the floor manager and camera crew while the show was being filmed.
After that, I had a tour of the building before setting out in a Citytv van to shadow a reporter and cameraman on an interview for a feature story.
Overall, it was an incredible experience and I enjoyed every bit of it. Because I don’t have any television broadcast courses at school, it was great to be able to just sit and watch the pros do their thing.
I have two full weeks at Breakfast Television, and I can’t wait to learn more. But the hours will be tough: I start at 5:30 a.m. tomorrow, meaning my alarm is set for 3 a.m.
Tonight, I will be going to bed pretty much right after dinner.
Several weeks ago, the editor of 24 Hours newspaper in Vancouver came to my Kwantlen News Production class and talked to me and my peers about internship opportunities with the paper.
Only myself and @JYip78 took him up on the offer, so we both got the position.
Today was my first day, and I was absolutely terrified to be going to work for a Vancouver daily. Even with a year and a half of j-school under my belt, I felt completely out of my element going into this.
In my anxiousness, I got lost on my way to the office, but still arrived early.
The day started right away. I got my own desk and computer, and began searching the web for local news stories.
And what a day to be in a newsroom: 10 people were shot on Oak Street and West 22nd. Not only did I get to see how the reporter covering the incident worked on the story, but I got to find out what was happening, when it is was happening, as updates came in throughout the day. (I was also working just blocks away from the crime scene…)
The experience was stressful, but I learned a lot.
I learned that I can work under pressure and on a tight deadline, and that I still need to work on my story-hunting skills.
My first article will be published in tomorrow’s paper. Very exciting!
And now, I have journalism homework to get to: two pitches for the paper tomorrow and my last Kwantlen Chronicle story to submit.
Tweet me! And look for my byline in the 24 Hours paper.