By Dyondra Wilson
For my first off-campus journalism internship, I think working for WSHU Public Radio was great. I’ve done other internships before but none really pertaining strictly to my major, so I was a little nervous. I needed to get my feet wet, and I’m happy I got to do so in Stony Brook’s backyard. The location is convenient, and it’s based mainly on local news coverage.
The people are great to work with. The senior interns and Terry Sheridan, Long Island’s Bureau chief, really try to help you find your voice and cut out your Long Island accent. I would say that was the hardest part for me, fixing something that you’re so used to doing every day without thinking. The way we talk is secnd nature to us, so it’s challenging trying to correct it so that listeners better understand you. Everything from the way you open your mouth to your diction can make or break how well you perform in the booth. It’s important to write your script as naturally as possible, to tell the story as though you’re talking to your mom.
Before this internship last semester, I took the audio journalism class and interned at the radio station on campus. I wanted to venture out in something other than writing, and I’m so happy I did. Without exploring different areas within the major, it’s hard to say what you really love because you never know until you try. And by trying, I got to explore it more at WSHU.
I would say that the internship itself is challenging because you have to take the details from a local story and write a script for it that lasts barely a minute. Brevity is your friend and also your enemy. You might think you have such a great script, and then an editor comes and chops it to half of what you wrote, but you get used to it and start thinking of ways to tell the main details so that listeners understand the important parts without all the details.
The stories I worked on ranged from the Long Island Sound’s lobstermen to the Long Island serial robber. One of my favorite stories to cover was when I got to go to Patchogue and interview people live at Congressman Lee Zeldin’s mobile office hours. It was cool speaking to protesters on both sides as they exercised their First Amendment rights.
One thing I wish I had done more often before getting into this internship is to listen to more NPR and news radio. Just how our professors make you read The New York Times to better understand news writing is the same for radio. You have to listen to as much radio news as possible so that you can better understand how to write and deliver your words in less time but with more force. It will help format your brain and give you an even better idea of what to aim for.
If you’re looking to do this internship in the future, I would recommend trying to learn radio more personally. Take the audio class, listen to audio journalism, and get your feet wet until you’re knee deep and possibly can see yourself at WSHU, like me. It definitely looks good on your resume, and you come out gaining an idea of what it’s like beyond Stony Brook–but not too far beyond. This internship forced me to read the more local news and get out of my New York Times bubble (which you should totally do!), and it gives you more options when applying to other internships that may involve radio. You have nothing to lose by working there, and it’s a great way to get yourself out there. I plan on applying to other radio internships in the future and now feel more confident doing so.