The Interns

After screaming for about five minutes, I realized my intern couldn’t hear me. My mistake was yelling to him from five rows away, and during a hockey game.

When we got to the arena, I said, “Go find us a good spot to set up. I just need to park the car.”

I was doing a “the behind the scenes” story on a Portland Pirates game. I had a microphone on the coach for the duration of the game.  I needed to get into position quickly, before the drop of the puck. Unlike a normal sports story, the very beginning was important video. When I returned from parking the car, I walked into the arena and saw my intern sitting comfortably in a paid seat. We we’re suppose to be up top shooting down onto the ice. Since we work for a TV station, we do not sit comfortably in the paid seats. We are there to work. This was the message I conveyed to my intern as soon as the nice woman in front of him directed his attention to me.

Interns are unpredictable. I give every one of them the same speech on their first day. You get out of this what you put into it. I am here to produce TV, not to baby sit. If you want to do something speak up, and express an interest, otherwise you will spend a semester making DVD copies. When we have nothing else for them to do, we have them make DVD’s of stories we have done for the list of people who have made requests. I also explain this too can be a learning tool. Watch and listen to these stories, you can get a lot out of what you see here.

The one watching the hockey game got nothing out of it. He just didn’t care. That was about four years ago.

Over the last couple of years, I have been blessed with great interns. Three of my interns have gone on to get hired by my station, one just this summer. He is the one I am most proud of. He had just started his second internship with us, when my boss decided it was time to move him up. While I would love to take the credit for his stellar abilities, I can’t. He is a smart guy, who greeted each day with remarkable enthusiasm. He was excited about every aspect of his internship. He just absorbed information. He asked all the right questions. He just got it. He learned so quickly how to do the job and how to do it right. He has an incredible work ethic, one I have not seen too often with interns over the years.

To my delight, the intern that followed him was exactly the same way. A fast learner who has an eagerness to learn everything we do and how we do it. I have to give this one up in a couple of weeks. He has made my job so much easier. I love being able to trust my interns. He produced an entire show for me this week, and did it perfectly.

I have a story for just about every intern. One drunk dialed me in the middle of the night. Another ate all of the food of a cooking segment before we could tape. Yet another left after a few weeks saying he could make more money in administration. A year later someone from NBC called me as a job reference for him. Then there was the one took a customer’s seat during a hockey game, when we were there to work.

They’re a mixed bunch. They come in like strangers and leave like family. I always miss them when they leave and dread the next one. When they are into it, we both have fun. I enjoy showing off how cool TV can be and I love teaching them everything I know.