By Liz Pulver
Before spending my summer interning at WSHU, I had never done audio journalism before. I knew some basics of Audition, but outside of that, I came in to WSHU at square one.
At WSHU, they believe in learning by doing. And thanks to Terry Sheridan, Jay Shah and JD Allen, that is exactly what I did. But it definitely was frustrating at first.
The one thing that I thought I had locked down coming into the internship was my voice. In my broadcast classes, I was told how my voicing was really solid, and it was always something I felt pretty confident in. But from my first day at WSHU, I realized how different a radio voice is from any other type of voicing I had previously done. I will never forget my second day at WSHU when Terry had me spend hours recording one voicer to nail down a baseline of how I should sound. His critiques ran the gambit from being too sing-songy, too formal and, of course, the popping p’s. Although it was frustrating, I was so thankful for the time Terry spent really breaking down what was wrong with what I was doing and then also building me up when I would get something right. Throughout my nine weeks at WSHU, I got more and more comfortable with my voicing. The hardest part was trying to sound conversational while reading from a piece of paper in a tiny recording booth, but by the end I was able to record five voicers in a day instead of barely doing one, like that first week.
Writing for radio was the aspect of the internship that I was most nervous about, because the stories needed to fit into very precise and short blocks of time and conciseness has never been my strong suit. JD was an incredible editor and was very willing not only to help make changes but also to explain why he was making those changes so I would learn from the process. I really learned a ton about short and to-the-point writing that still tells a story. In fact, by the end of the internship JD would occasionally have to add things in rather than take out huge chunks of script.
The biggest piece of advice I have for anyone doing this internship is to really listen to your editors and be able to handle criticism, because that is the only way you are going to get better. It’s never a fun experience to hear about everything you are doing wrong, but without that criticism your work will stay stagnant. Everyone at WSHU really knows what they are doing and they just want you to put out your best work.
Personally, I do not foresee myself going into radio, but I am so thankful for the skills I learned at WSHU. The voicing, script writing and interviewing skills are going to help me so much in broadcast and journalism in general. It was a great work environment, and they really treated me as another reporter on staff, not just some intern. I absolutely loved my time at WSHU and would recommend the internship to anyone in the J-School.