Insider Knowledge: A Broadcast & Digital Journalism Internship

By Delisa Morris (Newhouse Insider) – Waldy Diez – Broadcast and Digital Journalism (BDJ) G’15 – answered a few questions about her exciting and beneficial internship experience at USA Today as a video and multimedia intern.

Photo by Jack Gruber, USA TODAY staff
Photo by Jack Gruber, USA TODAY staff

What resources did you use to acquire your internship?

The BDJ program has a built-in capstone internship. However, I did not have a desire to pursue a career on camera, so I needed to find another internship in the DC area. I sent my resume and website to our DC capstone advisor, Lynne Adrine, and she passed it along to Steve Elfers at USA Today. I had to apply through her because our capstone started a month after the USA Today internship started.

What was a typical day like at your internship?

My supervisors would assign me a story that needed a video. I would create a short script, anywhere between 1:00 and 1:30. I would find b-roll photos and video using our online servers. Depending on the newsworthiness of the story, I would record a voiceover (very newsworthy) or record a standup using our set. I edited everything together in Premiere and uploaded it to our site. Normally, I was able to produce two videos a day. USA Today is really into producing national and international videos that users want to watch.

Did you work on any special projects during your time as an intern?  

I was fortunate to have a three-month internship at USA Today, so I had a few special projects. One of my favorite projects was for the college team at USAT. It was a month-long, back-to-school series where my fellow video interns and I produced at least three college-related videos a week. Each week had a different theme, and every Friday was a “Real or Nah” video, where we examined how true the college experience was that certain movies portrayed. My favorite video in that series was about different types of people you meet at a college party. I had various USAT interns define and act out these characters.

Diez in the field at USA Today. Photo by Daniel Farber-Ball, USA TODAY staff
Diez in the field at USA Today. Photo by Daniel Farber-Ball, USA TODAY staff

One project I was especially excited for was something called “The Social Revolution.” The idea behind the series was to interview six millennials who used social media and the Internet to make it big. I was able to get in contact with the agents of big name social media stars such as Tyler Oakley, Hannah Hart, Nash Grier, and Thomas Sanders among others. However, the agents weren’t too keen on conducting interviews via Skype because we are located in Virginia, when most of the stars are based in LA. USAT has an office in LA, but we couldn’t provide the transportation the stars needed. It was a bummer the project fell through; it would have been an incredible experience interviewing these social media stars. I also enjoyed that my supervisors trusted me enough to make me the lead producer of the project.

What was the best part of your internship experience?

The best part? It’s so hard to narrow down the best part. I learned so much at USA Today, and the people there are simply incredible. They want to make sure you get as much out of the internship as you can. I had a few MMJ trips and even got a byline on usatoday.com and several on college.usatoday.com. Some of my best experiences at USA Today were Capital Download trips. It’s a series with the DC Bureau Chief Susan Page that the video team records and edits. I got to meet several prominent politicians like Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, the Israeli and EU ambassadors, and even former Vice President Dick Cheney.

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