INTERN(AL) AFFAIRS: GARRETT HAAKE
When I first got accepted into the internship program at NBC Nightly News, the truth is, I was thinking about giving up on journalism. I questioned whether the life of a television journalist was really what I wanted. For me, this internship was an opportunity to jump in at the highest level and see if that life was really something to aspire to. Two weeks after final exams ended I quit my job, said goodbye to my family, friends and girlfriend in Texas, and left for a 12-week adventure in New York City.
An old friend told me that when I got to New York I would "catch the bug" and rediscover my passion for the news. She was right. Learning from, and working side-by-side with, the men and women who are the absolute best at what they do has refocused me. I want to be a reporter. I want to tell stories that bring the world to my community.
I couldn't have learned from better people. From my very first day I was amazed at how friendly and helpful everyone was -- from desk assistants on up, even Brian Williams himself. When I was introduced to Brian and told him where I was from, he nodded and told me he remembered reading my resume. The anchor of NBC Nightly News had read my resume. I was floored.
Working primarily in the newsroom at 30 Rock, we interns got to help build stories from the ground up. It was up to each of us to take as much out of that opportunity as we could.
Conducting research showed me how to find the strongest interview subjects and most reliable information. Logging taped interviews and other footage helped me tune my ear for good sound, and my eye for the best video. Sitting in on the daily editorial meetings taught me more about news judgment than I could ever have learned in a classroom. Helping producers and editors scramble to finish stories minutes before air taught me the value of staying cool under pressure. Great producers and correspondents read my writing, and offered direction and criticism. And yes, those daily intern duties like making copies and running errands taught me responsibility. Even the little things matter.
My assignments at Nightly weren't always fun, and I had days where New York absolutely got the best of me, but at the end of the day, I wouldn't trade what I learned for anything. I know I'm a better, smarter journalist for what I did and saw -- and years from now I'll credit this summer for showing me my path.
Read more from Summer 2006 interns
Reason to Hope?
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