By Megan Valle
Before interning at WSHU this semester, I had taken only one class in audio journalism, and I didn’t think it was my strong suit. Nevertheless, I was interested in audio and I enjoyed writing for it, so I decided to apply for the WSHU internship. Now, after four months of writing scripts and voicing, I can confidently say that my skills as an audio reporter have greatly improved, all thanks to the incredible team at WSHU.
The station managers–Terry Sheridan, the news director; news editor J.D. Allen; Jay Shah, the bureau chief; and news fellow Des D’Iorio–are wonderful. Each one truly cares about the interns. I remember my first week at the office I was really nervous about getting edits. I knew the basics of writing a script for radio, but I hadn’t written one in a year, so I wasn’t confident in my abilities. On the first day, after I wrote my first script, Terry sat down with me and went over my script line by line. He explained what he liked about the script, what he didn’t like, and why. Then, he had me voice it over and over again until it was good enough for the air. Again, he explained everything to me: why he liked the way I said one word, how I should emphasize a different word and how to speak from my chest, not my throat. All of his advice and edits were extremely important and helpful.
J.D. Allen is one of the best editors I have ever had. We spoke on the phone every day while he was editing my pieces. He would explain why he was making certain edits and how I could improve my scripts in the future. I always took his edits very seriously and would remember them when I was writing a new script. When he liked one of my scripts and didn’t have to edit it much, I knew I had done a good job.
Jay and Des were also really helpful. If I ever had a question, or needed advice on how to write a script, they were there to show me the ropes.
Having a car for this internship isn’t required, but it is a plus. If you have a car, Terry will send you out to cover press conferences, marches, town halls, etc. I didn’t have a car this semester, but Des took me out in the field multiple times to get audio for stories. We went to a press conference with Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone, and, later in the semester, we went to Stony Brook University Hospital for the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new Children’s Hospital. Going out on assignment was a fun change of pace. It gives you the opportunity to speak with sources face-to-face, which is always a great opportunity.
My semester at WSHU was incredible. I learned so much about audio journalism like writing, voicing and editing. I know that I will use everything I learned here in my future career. But the most important thing I learned this semester was to be confident in my abilities as a writer and as an audio journalist.
If you are considering WSHU as a future internship, I would tell you to 100% do it. The staff is an incredible group of people who truly care about you and want to see you succeed. They will work with you one on one every day, editing your scripts and helping you with your voicing, until you have it down to a T. I would say the biggest advice I can give you from this internship is to listen to your editors.