Hands-on experience at News 12 fosters creativity

By Gregory Cannella

This summer I interned for News 12 Interactive as a web content intern.

News 12 Interactive manages the websites, social media and info bars for all seven regions of News 12. The staff members take broadcast news packages, convert them into web-style stories and post them on the News 12 website along with the video of the reporter’s piece cut from the full broadcast.

On my first day, I shadowed one of the interactive producers, learning the different programs used to manage the website. I caught on fast and was assigned stories in each region right away.

This taught me new skills pertaining to online journalism. I would take the reporters’ information from their scripts and news package and write the story for the News 12 website. Writing multiple stories a day improved my writing and really taught me how to multitask.

News 12 Interactive also handles Channel 612 on Optimum, which lets viewers watch any news package, weather story or extended interview. Producers send the interactive department extended interviews that didn’t make the original broadcast to be cut and posted on the website and on Channel 612 for viewers to see.

Throughout my internship, I learned to manage the info bar ticker that runs under all the News 12 regions. Every headline has to be precisely written, accurate and reviewed before being posted since it is broadcast instantly. I took top news headlines and converted them into a specific number of characters for categories such as international, national, business, entertainment and sports.

I saw that social media played a key role when it comes to connecting with viewers. Connectivity with social platforms is important since it will draw more traffic to the News 12 website. I posted stories from social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter for News 12. It was interesting to learn what makes a good post, when to post and how to filter comments.

Occasionally I was assigned specific projects, like gathering information for events, creating photo galleries for specific stories and managing the News12 application for smartphones and tablets. I would check each story in the News 12 app, making sure text and picture were flowing and fitting properly. The staff also gave me a camera to take photos for a segment called “Animal Island” where different animals were brought in to be showcased on News 12 Long Island. These photos get posted in an online gallery.

Although I was credited for the pictures I took, I wish I had known that I wouldn’t be getting my own byline for writing up stories on the website.

It’s understandable, though, since you’re taking the information found by the reporter, not your own. I think it just makes it harder to gather clips for future endeavors.

Even though I was mainly on the web side of News 12, I had the chance to go out in the field with a reporter. Watching how a news package comes together was interesting, to say the least. From start to finish, you watch what is shot, written and aired. While shadowing a reporter, I even recorded my own stand-up and conducted some interviews myself.

I would recommend this internship to anyone interested in online journalism. The hands-on experience reassured me as to why I want to work in this profession. Online journalism is constantly growing because of the use of social media. Being surrounded by news gave me a taste of the real world. News 12 Interactive let me try different things and gain a better understand of how news is created.