Experience matters: Interning with Entertainment Tonight

After years of studying the fundamentals of journalism, learning the ins and outs of its practices and ethics, all my education and theoretical knowledge came alive with my first internship placement.

I spent this past summer interning at Entertainment Tonight Canada, and one of the main things that was so rewarding about the whole experience was being able to showcase all of the skills and knowledge I have learned through the journalism program at Wilfrid Laurier University and Conestoga College.

To first year journalism students coming into Laurier Brantford this fall you have a lot to look forward to. In your third year of study you get the option to go to Conestoga College and get the hands on experience of being a journalist. As for me, this past year I spent in Conestoga’s post -graduate Videography Broadcast- Journalism/ Documentary certificate program, as part of my broadcast concentration. The hands on skills I learned, ranging from working with high end HD videography equipment to polishing my on-camera presentation and performance skills, really benefited me at my placement.

My first week at ET Canada was spent in the production office working with the shows producers and editors. My duties included anything from general office duties to assisting producers with organizing video and photo shoots with talent. We also can go out on location to shoots with the hosts and producers for interviews with guests. But what was really interesting is that in the production office another duty we can do is transcribing actual interviews with Hollywood Celebrities and other influential people and being an entertainment and movie fanatic like myself, I found that part pretty exciting.

The best part of my placement I would have to say was working in the studio, as a studio and camera assistant.  Here I became close with the ET Canada Hosts particularly Cheryl Hickey and Rick Campanelli. It was fascinating to observe their mannerisms in front of the camera, see how they prepare, and also just to get to know them and their personalities off camera. My long-term aspiration is to be an on camera reporter, so it was this particular area of my placement that I found very beneficial.  I also got the opportunity to do some behind the scenes (BTS) shots that were implemented into that days’ show, as well as doing camera work that too was on the show later that day.  Other areas we also rotated in included working in the control room in the role of teleprompter for the hosts, in addition to being in the newsroom with the shows writers. We also were encouraged to work wit the editors in the editing suites.

What was really great about the internship program at ET Canada is that they really emphasized that our experience there was what we made out of it. They gave us the freedom to venture in all areas at ET, shadowing writers, producers, editors and even shadow the directors. From my experience I feel that it is really important that you do not waste any of your time at a placement, this is your very own opportunity to get the inside look and actually dip your toes in the industry, and even get your foot in the door to future job positions.  Jobs are not necessarily easy to come by, so establish connections, meet new people and don’t be shy because this is your time to shine. Show people what you have learned, and you may even surprise yourself and see your professor’s advice and teachings from their lectures and books coming through.  They are all learning experiences, you never stop learning and that is what makes it so exciting.

Internships matter, it’s an enormous part of your university and post secondary experience. For me, mine started at ET Canada and it will definitely not be my last. You don’t have to wait until your third year to start, and you also do not have to be in the journalism program either. Get as much hands on exposure and involvement as you can, because in any industry especially journalism, experience is almost if not equally as important as education. Get out there and put your education and theoretical knowledge into action.

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