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Advice from an Intern: Skyline College Students Join the Comcast SportsNet Team for a Season

May 15, 2012

It’s a common conundrum for journalism students: To get a job, you need to publish, but you can’t publish unless you have a job.

Rich Estrada (left) and Joe Barrack spent the spring semester interning at Comcast SportsNet.

That’s why if you are planning a career in journalism, working for your campus publication and securing an internship before you graduate are musts.  Two staffers this semester took this advice to heart, working both on The Skyline View and interning at Comcast SportsNet Bay Area.  The pair did everything from writing, cutting and editing sports highlights to running errands.

Now that their news production internship is wrapping up, Estrada had some time to answer questions about his experience:

What characteristics or qualities does a person need to do your job or get where you are? 

Be Self-motivated

It’s very important to be self-motivated. I cannot stress punctuality enough. Everyone notices you so show up and work.

Come Prepared

It serves an intern to come to work prepared. This sports station emphasizes local organizations and therefore knowledge on those teams help you develop a mental cue of what needs to be done. Before coming into work, I would check start times of games, look at opposing teams rosters (usually to see if any players have local ties), develop an encyclopedic knowledge of team history, and focus in on the possible storylines I can address when writing highlights and voice-overs.

I had to learn many of the anchors’ tendencies and keep them in mind when writing. For instance, [one anchor] tends to pause and emphasize key words so I usually write less and allow him to either ad lib or catch up to the teleprompter smoothly.

Be Proactive

Be outgoing and proactive. Talk to the editors and discuss the direction of the highlight prior to the game. Help out the marketing team when they send e-mails asking for additional help. Shadow some people around the newsroom for a few hours. Help the production team stage manage during shows. There is so much you can learn at CSN/NBC and its a shame to waste a semester not taking full advantage of it.

What’s your best advice to Skyline College journalism students?

Make Sure You’re Ready

If you have trouble showing up to class on time, getting your assignments done, or find yourself sitting around doing nothing during production nights [on your school paper], do NOT look for internships. You would be the intern that leaves the wrong lasting impression. Mentioning the internship on your resume would be pointless. (It may even be a disservice to you if you have reoccurring issue you weren’t willing to work on.)

Stand Out

Stand out for the right reasons. Internships are about networking and having someone you can contact when the time comes to apply for jobs. It’s a very competitive industry so you should be ready to compete.

Both followed in the footsteps of two other Skyline View staffers who were also CSN interns, current social media editor Terence Chin, and former editor Brenda Cancino, now at NBC in Miami.

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