by Joseph Damiani
I interned for News 12 Long Island Sports over the summer, and I had the greatest experience. I went in expecting a lot, and right from the beginning, much was asked of me, and I was ready.
I loved it there so much that I wanted to go back, I couldn’t stay away. To have a fighting chance, I submitted another application for the fall semester internship, and prayed they would see it. Just a few days later, I got a call from internship coordinator Ann Bernzweig, saying that the sports department loved how I did during the summer, and would “welcome me back with open arms.” I was floored; floored, but anxious and excited once again. This time I would be doing different work, but I didn’t mind. I was at it again.
This time around, I hardly stayed in the newsroom, as I had in the summer. I was out in the field; I logged games for “Friday Night Football,” the weekly high school football games under the lights. Each Friday I’d come to the newsroom, edit some highlights and cut voiceovers for the show, and then I would get into a News 12 Long Island car with a cameraman and head out, awaiting the cold air on the field level, the loud cheering of parents in the stands, and the raw emotion from players as I stood right next to them on the sidelines. I would write down all scoring plays – touchdowns and field goals – as well as plays that would be worthy of making the night’s highlights.
On occasion I was asked to “get sound;” that meant I was to interview a player or two after the game if he had a noteworthy game, made a spectacular play, or had some type of significant impact on the game’s outcome. After the game was over, we would race back to the newsroom and I would quickly cut highlights to make it into the 10:50 P. M. show. After that, I’d archive the day’s footage onto discs and head home.
I thought that I knew things had to be fast at News 12 Sports the first time around, but after my second time there, I learned that things go even faster. Interviews need to be done in less than a minute – no mulling and asking elaborate questions. Even driving had to be faster to meet deadlines. I learned that my prior experience had prepared me this time around, and I was cutting highlights on the fly with relative ease, much to the delight of anchor Jamie Stuart and producers Rob Del Muro and Andrew Rappaport.
Like my first time at News 12, I didn’t wish I had known much from the start because I wanted a challenge. I wanted to pick it up on my own, and learn the ropes myself.
If an SOJ student was considering this internship in the future, I’d tell him or her not to take his or her time. The TV news business – sports, hard news, features, what have you – waits for no one. I would tell a student who was considering this internship that you also need to have fun and enjoy yourself – this is sports! I don’t think someone would want this internship without a love for sports. However, you also need to be quick and learn your craft quickly. Repetition leads to tasks becoming second nature. I was fortunate enough to experience things for a few months before diving back in again, but you know the old saying, “you learn something new every day.” That saying couldn’t be more true.