Friday, July 6, 2012

TV station internship opens door to job for Randolph student

A summer internship has turned into a full-time job for one Randolph College senior.

Ryan Blackwell '13 adjusts settings on a camera during a news broadcast. He
joined WSET as an intern and then was hired as a full-time production assistant.
A few weeks into his internship,  Ryan Blackwell ’13, a communication studies major, became a production assistant at WSET, an award-winning ABC-affiliated television station near the College, He helps produce three WSET newscasts each day, creating on-screen graphics, controlling sound levels, and operating a live camera.

He signed up for the internship, and then applied for the job, to help him prepare for a career in broadcasting. “It’s mostly about gaining experience during my schooling,” he said. While his classes are preparing him intellectually, he believes “some practical experiences are going to be equally helpful.”

Blackwell’s entrance into the television news world originated from his interest in radio. Growing up in the Washington, D.C., area, he was fascinated with the numerous local talk radio shows. He believes local radio is an important part of a thriving community. “Audio always has resonated with me as an interesting medium, and is one of the most versatile ways for disseminating information and telling a story,” he said.

Ryan Blackwell '13 gives a cue to a news anchor.
When he visited Randolph College for a scholarship  interview, he learned about the student-run radio station WWRM. The station allows students to produce their own shows, and Blackwell launched his own as a first-year. He served as station manager for the WWRM for the past two years.

While exploring radio station internships with the help of Randolph’s Experiential Learning Center, Blackwell learned of the WSET position. Krista Leighton, the career development director, encouraged him to consider the WSET internship because it would offer important hands-on experience.

The internship allowed Blackwell to cultivate technical skills such as graphics editing and audio production. He also learned how to collaborate with others to produce a show with a firm deadline. “Working at WSET has really given me a taste of what it’s like to work on a real production team that has to work through issues real-time,” he said.

The experience also has given Blackwell a new perspective on his academic pursuits. Communication studies majors usually examine media from the perspective of consumers, he said. “Being on the production side, inside the newsroom, and seeing what these reporters actually go thru to create a news product for the masses, has really opened up my eyes.”

While interning, Blackwell heard that the station needed a full-time production assistant, so he applied and earned the job. He hopes to continue on a part-time basis during his senior year.

Blackwell said more students should consider fulfilling internships while in college. “You’re definitely going to have to put a lot of time into it, especially when you’re finding and applying for them,” he said. “I would suggest that you go ahead and tough it out. It will bring you new opportunities and great experience for whatever you want to do.”