Malisa Mat Sani is interning for KATV Channel 7 in Little Rock this summer. Student internships provide opportunities for students to gain experience in their field, determine if they have an interest in a particular career, create a network of contacts, or gain school credit.
"I found out about this internship during the career fair that we had last fall," said the senior RTV major from Belleville, Arkansas. "I talked to the producer who represented KATV at the fair, and he encouraged me to apply soon, as did [Director of Broadcasting] Susan Edens and Dr. Jane Cater. Susan agreed to be my supervisor for this internship, so I got in contact with Rusty Mizell, the director and producer. He emailed me back late in the semester to let me know that I got the internship. It was a great feeling for me to get that email saying that I was accepted."
To complete her internship as a three-credit-hour class, Malisa must put in 135 hours at KATV. Another requirement Edens has for student internships is that the student keep a weekly journal of the experience. Selections from Malisa’s journal describe situations she has encountered over the summer, and highlight how much she has grown as an RTV student and as a person.
July 6th, 2011
…So, today I arrived in KATV, and Rusty Mizell waited for me at the door. At 9:45 a.m., I attended my first meeting, a rundown of the Midday Show. After that, Rusty took me and Livvi [another intern] for a tour around KATV. I was kind of star struck a little bit because I got the chance to meet the anchors that worked for KATV. They were all really nice and welcoming.
"The hardest part at first was not feeling intimidated so I could approach the reporters, the producers, the editing people, the directors, and the photographers I see every day and need to learn from," Malisa said. "They are busy people, but I feel like I won’t be able to learn anything unless I bug them. So I do. Everybody is really approachable, which is good."
Interns work three eight- or nine-hour days a week. Although Malisa said their duties vary from day to day, there is always plenty to do. "One day it might be hectic and busy, one day it might be slow, and one day I might get to go out and shadow a reporter," she explains.
July 8th, 2011
The other 2 interns left to shadow a reporter earlier, leaving me to observe in the newsroom. I went to the control room for the taping of the Midday show, and this time I get to shadow the director. His name is Jay. He told me a little bit about the functions of the switcher he was using. The switcher there is a lot bigger than ours at KUOZ. After lunch, I got the chance to shadow a reporter named Stephanie Simoni and to be in a real reporter-chase scene with the mayor of some little Arkansas town they wanted to interview. The situation was pretty intense. It was a pretty great day, I must say.
Not every day turns out to be a "pretty great day" though. Mixed in with all the learning have been some challenges. Malisa learned quickly that the news broadcast must go on air regardless of what else is going on….like losing the internet:
July 14th, 2011
Today started out pretty slow. I arrived at work and Rusty told me that the whole internet system is down. So there is nothing that we can do about it. The ENPS software is offline, so basically the news station had to go back to the old ways to get news, listening to the police scanner and calling people on the phone to search for stories. It was pretty cool to see what the station did in this situation. During the morning meeting, it was funny to see the story rundowns were all handwritten, since ENPS is offline, and the producers couldn’t use it to print anything out.
Later that day, she had her first impromptu encounter in front of the camera, and another challenge. This time, Malisa said things didn’t go so well:
July 14th, 2011
The sports guy, Sulli, asked if any interns wanted to go out and shoot a story. So we went and shot and did some interviews, and the worst part of today, stand ups. That’s where you stand with the mic in front of the camera as a reporter and talk. The rest of the interns wanted to do a stand up for this story. I was caught off guard. When it was my turn, I froze up and my mind just went blank. I was really disappointed with myself. I think that was the biggest disappointment that I had since I’ve started this internship. I just don’t understand why I couldn’t do it. I guess I must learn from this mistake and remember next time to just go for it.
But one of the great things about doing an internship is the opportunity to learn from your mistakes, and improve. The next week, Malisa got a chance to try stand-up again:
July 20th, 2011
Lindsey [another intern] and I went to shadow Katherina Yancy, a KATV reporter, and Ray, the photographer for today. We went to Bauxite, Arkansas, for her story. Ray told us a little bit about lighting, how to find a good lighting place to shoot. And Katherina told us to just loosen up and just be confident about ourselves. Then, after Katherina was done doing her stand ups and interviews, she asked us to do a stand up. This opportunity was perfect, I think. My first attempt to do a stand up last week, I failed epically. Ha! But this time I was determined to do it. Lindsey and I were kind of shy at first, but then, when it was my turn, I just went and did it. I think that is my achievement for today. I went up and did one. Katherina helped a lot, I must say. She is very confident and very straight forward to us. So, I must say, my day today was pretty great. Learned a lot, and of course will keep on learning every day.
Malisa said she hasn’t always been interested in broadcasting, but her class work and the internship have changed her feelings on the subject. It’s one reason internships work so well. Her journal reflects her changing views.
July 20th, 2011
Today is officially my 3rd week being here, and I got to help with editing. Firstly, I helped the morning editor, Richard, edit a one minute b-roll for Midday show, and then I got to help edit for 5 p.m. news also. So that was pretty awesome. I realized that I have a new found "love" for editing now. I mean I did love editing before, but now I realize that I would not mind sitting in the editing suite all day editing packages or anything, for that matter. I am just realizing how much things can change from being something that you hate to do, to something that you can enjoy doing so much. Richard also told me some techniques of what he called "good editing." Chato, the evening editor, told me balancing the audio is very important in editing. Things like these are the ones that make me appreciate being here. I love the fact that I get to learn this stuff, and I can definitely apply it in the future.
Edens commended Malisa for her hard work so far this summer, and emphasized the importance of internships. "Malisa has really, really blossomed since her freshman year. While internships are not required by the program, they are highly encouraged. The internships can be priceless if the facilitator is dynamic and has high expectations of the student, and if the student goes in with a positive attitude and a willingness to learn new things and work with a variety of people."
Malisa will finish the internship in mid-August, when she will return for her senior year at Ozarks.
Malisa Mat Sani (left) sits with other summer interns at KATV Channel 7 in Little Rock. The interns spend their time learning all aspects of working at the station, everything from running the equipment to shadowing reporters. Malisa is a senior RTV major from Belleville, Arkansas.
Topics: Communication Studies