August 13, 2010
Eight mass communication students from Northwestern Oklahoma State University have spent their summer gaining hands-on experience through completing internships by working for various companies in the area.
Juniors Jessica Binder, Inman, Kan.; Xin Xin Liu, China; Tyler Mays, Edmond; Austin Prickett, Enid; and seniors Johnny Gonzalez, Fairview; Lane Goodner, Medford; Joe Perez, Alva; and Austin Sterling, Kiowa, Kan., have had the opportunity to see what duties are expected in the “real world” setting as a mass communication major. This experience served as a guide to help students understand the ins and outs of everyday life for a mass communication professional.
Binder has been working for Western Equipment, LLC, in Alva on the advertising side of the business. She has worked on putting ads together for newspapers, magazines and radio. She’s also been in charge of all online sales ads and keeps the web site up-to-date with equipment sales.
This internship has taught her to work on-task and to do things under pressure.
“This experience has helped me learn what is at stake in the advertising world,” Binder said. “It has also put my name out there, and I have already had people give me references of people they know to contact.”
Binder feels that internships are great for students to complete to realize if the field they are working in is really the right choice.
Gonzalez has been spending his time at the KPAK/KALV radio station in Alva. While there, he has been assisting in productions as the board operator for coverage of American Legion Summer League and talent for a few local commercials.
“I would have to say that this experience has shown me the importance of personal responsibility in the mass communication field,” Gonzalez said.
He explained that while the crew is at a remote location, he is the one back at the studio entrusted to fulfill his duties for a successful broadcast.
For Gonzalez, the internship has given him an opportunity to develop ideas on the various ways his abilities can be used in a media-related career.
“The most beneficial part of my internship has been the hands-on experience with various equipment and instruments used in the radio industry,” Gonzalez said.
Goodner applied for the Oklahoma Newspaper Foundation Scholarship last March for her summer internship, and was accepted by The Okeene Record.
While working for the Okeene Record, she has gained experience in creating and placing ads on the paper, taking photos, advertising, creating layout designs for special events and creative writing.
“This job has led me to take my creativity and go crazy with it,” Goodner said.
“This internship has helped me with getting the job done successfully by not stressing out. I have been able to learn my lesson when trying to meet a new deadline.”
She highly recommends that upcoming juniors and seniors apply for this summer scholarship.
“I have had so much fun and learned so much,” Goodner said.
Liu has been going out in the field with reporters and writing stories for the Oklahoma City-based news9.com. She’s also written stories for the newscast and has been practicing her own reporting skills in front of the camera.
Some of the most beneficial moments for Liu have been through meeting new people, especially professionals in this field and being able to learn from them. She was happy to report that some of her work has been chosen to be on the web site and the newscast.
“Meeting a lot of people and building good relationships is definitely going to be helpful when I start my career as a news reporter or producer,” Liu said. “However, the most important thing of all is that I get to put the skills I learned from school into practice, and improve myself professionally.”
Liu’s continued enthusiasm for journalism has strengthened because of this internship. She believes that she can constantly improve herself by being a reporter and going out to investigate the stories, meeting new people and learning new things every day.
This internship has given Liu a connection with professionals in the field, and she has been able to learn new things from producers, anchors, reporters and photographers.
“Everyone has been giving me a lot of advice and pointers,” Liu said.
“At first I was having problems with my accent when I was doing my reports,” Liu said. “However, everyone was helping me overcome this problem, or fear, and I believe now I am doing much better.”
Mays has been working for radio station WWLS in Oklahoma City, and has set up interviews with NCAA football and baseball coaches and NBA national analysts. He’s had the opportunity to sit in on multiple shows at the Sports Animal while learning how to create sound bytes, answer phones and run the boards.
“While at the Animal I have not only enjoyed meeting and working with those voices I hear so often on the radio, but by meeting them I have greatly increased my stock in the business,” Mays said.
Prickett’s primary duties have been in in the promotions department at Renda Broadcasting in Oklahoma City. The radio stations 92.5 KOMA, 107.7 KRXO, 104.1 KMGL and AM 1520 KOKC make up the Renda Broadcasting company.
His normal day duties consist of getting materials ready for the week’s remotes, and helping to gather promotional materials from companies. One opportunity Prickett helped with involved organizing and putting on special promotions for each station.
“In one instance I contacted and signed up listeners to compete in a grill race that I was helping organize,” Prickett said.
“I believe the relationships I have built with the employees at Renda and the skills they have all taught me will help me secure a job in the future,” Prickett said. “This experience has made me want to go into the radio side of mass communication.”
Sterling has been working for KFOR-News Channel 4 in Oklahoma City. He’s been out with reporters covering breaking news and working with producers. He’s also had the chance to go out and get footage with the photographers about stories the reporters have covered.
His favorite part of his internship involves the people. Sterling enjoys going out and talking with people and being a communicator. He mentioned that sometimes it’s hard to go through the emotions with the people he is interviewing. People sometimes deal with traumatic things, and those stories are difficult to cover.
Overall, this has been an eye-opening experience for Sterling. At first, he didn’t know what to expect, but in the end he enjoyed going out with the reporters and talking with people.
Perez is finishing up his internship at KOCO news 5 in Oklahoma City, and he believes his experience there has been a valuable one.
“While working at Channel 5 I have been able to go out with reporters watching how they work—learning the ins and outs of what it takes to be a reporter in a real-world setting,” Perez said.
Perez said the interviewing process is what he liked most about his internship.
“I’ve had the opportunity to interview civilians and politicians; however, it has been my interviews with running candidates lately for the 2010 elections that have been of more interest,” Perez said.
He mentions one interview with a politician where he felt out of his element and a bit nervous, but he was able to walk in with confidence and obtain the information he thought voters would want to hear.
“It was at that point I didn’t feel like a regular intern, but a strong, willing reporter; that has been one of my favorite moments at the job,” Perez said.
Through this internship, Perez has realized how much he’s learned from his time at the Northwestern.
“Reporting at a university news station, you utilize all that you learn; you are your own photographer, reporter and at times producer,” Perez said. “It makes me proud to be an effective and efficient journalist, especially in an industry that is fast-paced and ever-changing.”