My News 12 Experience

by Jessica Suarez

I started learning from the minute I walked into the News 12 Studio to begin my internship.  I was very fortunate to work with Elizabeth Hashagen, co-anchor of the morning show.  As my mentor, Elizabeth had me write a list of everything I wanted to learn during my time at News 12.  My list included minor things like running the teleprompter and writing intros to packages, but I also listed one of my major challenges of figuring out which path I should take when I graduate.  Elizabeth took at least a day to focus on each item on my list.

Elizabeth showed me what it takes to be a reporter, everything from the make-up to the stand-ups.  When she went to report on a story, I always had the opportunity to do my own stand-up for my reel.  When we went back to the studio, I didn’t just learn how to log the tapes.  I would write intros to the package.  I would always send what I wrote to Elizabeth so she could give me feedback on my writing.

On our first day together, Elizabeth dove right into the importance of social media.  She had me composing tweets about the top stories for that day and introduced me to Social News Desk, a website that became very important during my internship.  I mastered this website and helped to manage Elizabeth’s social networks,  building a skill that has become crucial in a world where the news is in the palms of our hands 24/7.

Since Elizabeth wanted me to get a taste of every role that makes a news broadcast she set up days for me to shadow other people in different positions at News 12.  Working with the producer of the morning show was one of the most exciting experiences for me.  I came in at 11 p.m. and watched the entire morning broadcast come together between midnight and 5 a.m., when it goes live.  The producer has the crucial role of deciding which stories will make the broadcast and in which order they will be aired.  That person stiches the entire show together—with the possibility of breaking news always lurking.

Shadowing a producer helped me to tackle one of my biggest questions going into my internship.  Ever since high school, my dream was to be a reporter, but since learning more about producing, my interest has really grown in that area.  Elizabeth said the best way to tackle this dilemma was to take a shot at both and see which I really enjoy.  News 12 was the perfect opportunity to do that.

Not only did I go out reporting on feature stories with Elizabeth, but she also set me up with reporters who report daily hard news. To get a taste of the producing side, not only did I get to sit with a few different producers, but I also got a chance to do my own producing.  I set up two live shots for a special segment in the morning show and produced each of these segments.

At that point, I was pretty sure the thrill of producing had me hooked, but there was one more person Elizabeth suggested I speak to before making my final decision.

That person was Pat Dolan, president of News 12 Networks and news director of News 12 Long Island.  After hearing about my experience, Mr. Dolan said that it seemed like my passion was in producing.  So I asked him what the next steps would be if I wanted to get a job producing at News 12 when I graduate.  He suggested I intern with the producer of the weekend show who has a lot of experience and would be willing to show me the ropes of producing.   I am excited to say that I will be interning with this producer this fall.

My advice to future interns would be to put in what you want to get out of your experience. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and volunteer to do anything that you can.  For example, the other interns and I wanted to do our own broadcast, so we asked our supervisors if we could use the studio.  Not only did they say yes, but they also gave us advice to make sure our broadcast was the best it could be.  They let us take over the studio for an hour.  As the producer of this broadcast, I got real hands-on experience.  We were also the first group of interns ever to do something like this.

I had such a positive experience, and I am excited to continue my internship in my senior year.  I can’t wait to see what else News 12 has in store for me.