By Donovan Alexis
I am writing this on the last day of my internship, and honestly, this experience is something I will never forget. As clichéd as it sounds, I’m dead serious. How could I ever forget my first full internship, at WSHU radio, during the year of COVID-19 pandemic?
The last 16 weeks felt like a tale of two halves, literally day and night. I will forever be grateful for the opportunity granted to me by Professor Terry Sheridan and the amazing assistance from Jay Shah and J.D. Allen. Their advice and help has allowed me to improve my skills in radio journalism. I’ve enjoyed every single moment, whether it was going out and covering local government press conferences, writing scripts or recording voicers in the recording booth. I felt that this experience added another notch to my belt because I strive to be versatile, to be capable of producing pieces for broadcast, for radio or for print.
I have to say that Jay Shah, the Long Island bureau chief, was the one I worked with the most, and he’s given me the most advice throughout my time at WSHU. Through him, I learned how to write concisely, to cut straight to the facts and to provide pertinent information that listeners would care about.
I worked on a wide variety of stories: helicopter route changes, weapon busts and, of course, stories pertaining to the COVID-19 pandemic. I wasn’t limited to just one kind of topic.
I thank J.D. Allen for teaching me how to speak conversationally for radio, to write for the ear. I initially had the habit of over-explaining complex concepts and speaking robotically. I remember we walked several laps around the J-school offices and the rest of the fourth floor while he coached me on how to voice the right way. Whenever I have difficulties performing a task, I always want to tackle it head on and master it as best as I can.
Nothing could have prepared me for this semester, and there’s nothing I would have changed. Having to uproot and work away from the office so suddenly while the world seemed to be coming to an end was a valuable lesson. It taught me to be versatile, to be flexible when something unpredictable came up. Working from home taught me to be resilient, because a lot of the time I’d wake up on a Wednesday or Friday morning and my bedroom would all of a sudden turn into my office. I had to avoid the temptation of going back to sleep. I learned that there is always an unorthodox way to get things done. After being tasked with recording a voicer, I came up with a way to get rid of background audio for the best quality sound I could manage. I took down the clock on my wall to stop the ticking, covered myself with two weighted blankets to insulate the sound, and then I recorded my voice. The result turned out almost as good as recording in a sound booth!
For any SOJ student who is considering WSHU as an internship, don’t be intimidated but embrace the challenge. The staff are incredibly welcoming and are always open to questions and helping you out. Always be open to criticism because at the end of the day, the people working there want to help you grow.