Every Tuesday and Friday, I wake up at 3:15 a.m. to get ready for my 10-hour day at MSNBC’s Ali Velshi and Stephanie Ruhle morning show. I hop in a cab at 4:20 a.m. to get on the Trailways bus in town, which then leaves at 4:40 a.m. I get to the city by 6:15 a.m., and am clocked in for work by 6:45 a.m. –only after the morning hustle of a train ride and a walk to 6th avenue. Traveling has therefore been the most challenging part of my internship. It’s time-consuming, costly, and exhausting physically and mentally. But, it has also been a rewarding, learning experience. I’ve learned that I am capable of doing what I thought months ago would be merely impossible.
My strengths and success have everything to do with taking initiative and conversing with people I wanted to know more about. When my supervisor told me to meet someone in the office, or introduce myself to someone on a different floor or via email, I did. When I saw contributors on television that I wanted to meet, especially during the natural disasters coverage, I asked my producers and writers who they were, and how to get in contact with them. I sat down with producers and writers at all levels, and interviewed some of them for my initial fieldwork assignments. I did my best to set up informational with both anchors, though they were extremely busy. I always made it a point to say hello and smile around them, and take notes as they read and ad-libbed from the teleprompter. When I realized that national reporting was not something I could put into practice just yet, I researched a couple of people on WNBC’s website, and contacted local reporters who might allow me to tag along. I took a chance, asked my supervisor and HR, and then, I was able to learn with another team outside of the office. I even met Andrea Mitchell, Savannah Sellers, Mariana Atencio, and other guests from Bloomberg, The New Yorker, The Wall Street Journal, New York Times—and even model, Petra Nemcova, which were the highlights of my experience.
However, I’ve struggled to find ways to feel and be useful to the team. My supervisor is the Senior Producer of the show, and so he invests his time in triple-checking and creating the content for it. So most days, I sit down, sift through my work email, read about the content the team will be using for the show, and conduct research for the show alongside of them. I’ve used the same techniques MSNBC writers taught me to support them in their research. I’ve constantly sent them articles, videos, and other important nutgrafs for various topics, including Puerto Rico’s electric grid, Harvey Weinstein and Charlie Rose allegations, Trump getting UCLA’s freshmen out of jail in China, etc. Most people I’ve sent information to via email thanked me, and talked to me after the show to discuss more ideas. Some even opened up to me about their life, and we also talked about my life at New Paltz and even, my plans to study abroad in Madrid. These moments of conversation made my moments of weakness all worth it.
Being a part of MSNBC’s team for Velshi and Ruhle has given me an appreciation for national, political, and hard news. I’ve always steered away from reading, writing, and reporting on topics regarding elections, Trump, and money– unless I had no choice for an assignment. But I learned quickly after getting accepted to NBCU’s sphere of news that that was not being a real journalist. A real journalist devotes time to all types of news, especially news that impacts the nation, billions of people, as a whole. I didn’t realize how important impact was until I saw Velshi and Ruhle co-anchor stories about Equifax, Puerto Rico, Mexico, California disasters, and public hearings regarding Trump’s past and current cabinet. Without knowledge of these stories, how would I ever be part of conversations that help shape policy for my family and my friends’ families?
My future goals are to then consume both local and national news daily. I want to implement researching top stories in my daily consumption of news, as well—the way I’ve learned to here at the internship. I hope to keep in contact with my supervisor, writers, producers and reporters I’ve connected with going forward. In terms of future coursework, I’d like to take some sort of broadcast or television production course. I’d also love to do more local reporting in town, as well as hard news reporting of impactful topics on campus for WNPC-TV, and my newsreel. Overall, I’d like to land a summer internship in local news reporting, where I can support the team with human interest stories, and meet more people in my own community.
p.s. It’s been an insane, incredible, indescribable journey at MSNBC. And here I was, on Tuesday, taking it all in. Hope you enjoy this reflection I wrote about my experience thus far, and learn something from what I have been exposed to!