This past spring semester, I completed an internship at CBS Philly in the Public Affairs department, and worked under Joanne Calabria, Vice President of Public Affairs for CBS Television Stations, and Shelley Hoffman, Manager of Public Affairs for CBS Philly. My internship was originally supposed to be 12 weeks from January 21st to April 18th, but I was able to get it extended for 4 more weeks, ending on May 14th. I really enjoyed my time working at CBS Philly and learned a ton. The internship was an incredible learning experience, and I came out of it learning what I wanted to do, career wise.
I started my internship on January 21st, which happened to be right in the middle of winter storm Janus. The station was in full swing, broadcasting constant updates on the storm, and the energy level around the station was very high. This was such an exciting day to start my internship, as I was able to see what a television station is like during a breaking news event. Joanne and Shelley took me to the control room to watch the 12pm newscast and weather reports being broadcasted from location. I was pretty mesmerized to say the least. Sitting in the control room gave me a different perspective on reporting the news from a production side. It was crazy to see how timing was everything during each reporter’s segment. I really enjoyed my first day at the station and was very excited to go back for my 2nd day.
On my 2nd day and throughout the month of February, I was given my first big assignment of organizing all the public service announcements and keeping track of them in a binder, throwing out duplicates and expired tapes. I also had the opportunity to work on my first press release, which was for the ‘Kidcaster Search with Meteorologist Kathy Orr.’ Almost every year, CBS 3 holds auditions for young kids to showcase their meteorology skills while reporting the weather in a simulated report. The winners are then featured live on that week’s newscasts. I also was able to catch a few segments of Talk Philly in the studio and watch some live recordings being taped for different segments. Two stood out particular, which included Anchor Ukee Washington interviewing Kit Harrington from Game of Thrones, for his upcoming movie Pompeii, and an interview with the makers of Yuengling Ice cream. Everyone in the audience was able to take home samples of the ice cream as well. At the end of the month, I started on a press release for the annual St. Patrick’s Day parade, and was given a new, ongoing project of uploading events into the CBS 3 Community Calendar on the station’s website.
Starting in March, I began organizing all the physical copies of the talent bios, and headshots, as well as updating the talent’s on-air social media contact list. It was very cool coming into contact with a lot of the talent on a regular basis. I was also given a project to transcribe interviews for PAL Award honoree Bob Ciminelli. These interviews consisted of his colleagues and friends on his experiences within the PAL organization. My biggest project of all was the quarterly FCC reports, which consisted of transcribing and compiling newscasts into FCC ready documents for the first quarter, which were completed in mid April. I also helped out Paul Marrero of Human Resources on a project, which consisted of compiling an EEO report for the on-air talent’s public appearance events throughout the last year in the categories of education, minority, and women. In my downtime I worked on the FCC project.
By April, I was assigned two more press releases to complete for the 2014 PAB Awards and the Big Brother 16 casting call being held at Revel Casino in Atlantic City. I was really able to learn a great deal about what goes into drafting a press release, as Joanne gave me full rein on creating them and the she would sit me down and show me what I needed to correct. As time went on, I got better and better at writing them. It was very beneficial in my learning process in the individual attention she gave me. Joanne also gave me two other assignments, in which I had to compile information for all of the CBS Local Television Stations in creating Excel spreadsheets for the revenue generated from events and PSA’s on a corporate level.
From mid April to mid May, the planning and coordinating for the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure event took full swing. I was involved in meetings for the coverage and communications aspect of the event from start to finish. I was able to see all the different aspects that went into a public affairs event, and got to work the event on May 11th. My job at the event was to work the “selfie” booth and manage the crowds. Someone form the on-air talent team would appear every 30 minutes for the crowd to line up and take a picture with. The step and repeat ended up being a huge success, and Joanne and Shelley, along with the web department, officially decided to implement it at all of their events. The step and repeat used the hash tag #cbs3selfie, which became the go-to hash-tag from now on for anyone wanting to upload a picture or post to social media while at a CBS Philly related event. It was very interesting to see how a local television station utilized social media into their communications outreach plan, and greatly benefitted them to them point of being a large success.
All in all, my internship at CBS Philly was an incredible experience. I learned that I would like to be in a communications and public affairs role at a television station or network, and be involved with events. I learned so much about drafting press releases, and would like to have writing be a large part of my future career. On the last day of my internship, I was offered a position as a Sales and Political Compliance Assistant for National Spot Sales for CBS Television Stations. Shelley recommended me for the position, which proves that hard work really does prevail in the end. I’m so excited to continue working at CBS and am very excited where this start in the company will take me.