Student Spotlight: Intern Making News in New York

Alicia Keene is an intern at CBS News in New York City.

Alicia Keene

Alicia Keene

Name: Alicia Keene
Hometown: Austin
Major: Journalism
Classification: Senior
Internship: Intern, CBS News in New York

How did you find out about this internship?
CBS News had the program description on its website. I am on the College of Media and Communication’s Dean’s Council, and Dean Jerry Hudson (who has since retired) reminded journalism majors at one of the meetings to keep CBS News in mind for internships because Scott Pelley, the CBS Evening News anchor, is a Texas Tech journalism alumnus.

What was the application and interview process like?
The application was actually pretty simple. It was a one page form asking for general information. I had to turn in a copy of my transcript, two professor reference letters, and a letter of credit. I also forwarded my application packet to Dean Hudson, who forwarded it to Scott Pelley. A week later, I received an email from the internship director requesting a Skype interview with me. About two weeks after the interview, I received an email with my acceptance letter.

What kind of work do you do for your employer?
It just depends on the day and time I am scheduled to work because each shift requires different work to be done. Essentially, I do a lot of behind-the-scenes work. The only thing I am not allowed to do is film work or make video edits, due to union rules in New York. I go out on shoots with reporters and cameramen to observe and help. For example, I recently got to attend the annual New York City Pride Parade. I was given a media pass and allowed to go inside the barricades so I could watch the reporter and cameraman in action. On smaller stories, sometimes they have let me go out on my own with a cameraman and serve as the reporter. I write scripts for videos and research stories to prepare a producer or reporter for an interview. I had the opportunity to do a phone interview with Vince Vaughn about his movie, “The Internship,” and I got to sit in on a video interview of Seth Rogen and Jonah Hill.

Alicia Keene & Scott Pelley

Alicia with CBS Evening News anchor Scott Pelley, also a Texas Tech journalism alumnus.

How has Texas Tech prepared you for this opportunity?
Regarding the technical aspect, I would have been completely lost without terminology I learned in the journalism program. The three most important aspects Texas Tech taught me are the importance of writing well, working hard and journalism ethics. If you ask anyone here, they will tell you the most important quality to have in this business is good writing skills, and my internship requires a lot of writing on a daily basis. The journalism program at Texas Tech is very focused on building its students’ writing skills.

What have you learned from this experience?
All in all, it is one thing to hear about a newsroom, but it is another to actually experience one and become immersed in it. There is so much more to the newsgathering and production process than I thought. Each person at each station in each network must work together and play a role in keeping news production alive efficiently.

How will this experience help you in your future career?
Most people don’t get the opportunity to see the business at the national network level, and a national network is vastly different than a local station. I have an overall understanding of how the business works, and I have made contacts that I will remain in contact with after I graduate.

What advice would you give to other students about the internship experience?
Always be positive -- you want to contribute to the atmosphere, not detract from it. Be outgoing and communicative to help find mentors to teach and guide you. Take advantage of the internship and learn as much as you can to better yourself.

What do you hope to do in the future?
I thought I wanted to be a reporter or correspondent because those people are generally associated as the news providers, but I am discovering there are other ways to be part of the action, such as being a producer. I would like to work in a larger market like Dallas, Houston, Austin or possibly even New York.