By Rosemary An
I interned at WSHU News in Stony Brook from May to August. I never really thought about radio journalism, but I had an opportunity to interview and took it. Although it felt a bit out of my comfort zone, I learned a great deal from Terry Sheridan.
I’ve always been interested in broadcast news. Radio is a type of broadcast, but I never cared for it. I always thought, people who work in radio are simply too scared to actually be on television. I was proved wrong after learning what radio journalism is about.
After I was assigned my first piece, I went into the recording booth and recorded it based on my instincts. Terry explained to me why radio is hard – you must be able to express exactly what you want the reader to know and feel using just your voice. It’s pretty much art, in a way. In the following weeks, I learned other tricks to help my “radio” voice. I had to work on my “popping p’s”, as Terry called it. I would say a lot of words that begin with a “P”, but when I listened to the audio it sounded weird. I had to learn that directing my mouth downwards and stepping a little further from the mic.
It was pretty hard to learn how to “speak in radio” because I was not accustomed to it. This experience truly showed me that print, television, and radio journalism are very different. I had to figure out how to hit all the important points in about 25 seconds. Even so, when listening to the recording, it feels longer than it actually was. I even went home and played my recording for my friend and asked her to signal when she thought it had been 40 seconds on an actual 40 second wrap. Within 24 seconds, she thought it had been 40. This makes me think how easy it is to lose interest and get bored when listening to the radio, which is understandable since you are only offered one of the five senses (hearing) in radio. It’s easy to decipher and stay interested when watching television because you are given facial expressions, images, and videos to support what’s being reported on.
I reported on a number of different subjects. This ranged from animals to executive press conferences. In doing this, I learned the different kinds of pieces that can go on air. There are readers, voicers, cut and copies, and wraps. Terry was always very encouraging and never reprimanded me for not having my best work. He created a casual, yet fun atmosphere and it was a pleasure to work for him. He knew what I was good at and what I wasn’t, and was very understanding about my circumstances.
I wish I had known about radio earlier, maybe taken a class, so that I could really do my best during the internship. I feel like half the time was wasted on my ignorance. I also wish I wasn’t as nervous during press conferences – had I been more confident earlier, I would’ve been able to ask more questions during the beginning weeks and prepared a better story to go on air.
To a student in the SOJ considering this internship in the future, I’d say it’s worth it. I could not have been blessed with a better internship coordinator as a beginner and a student. He made things hassle-free, he wasn’t as demanding as I thought he would be, but also taught me a lot of valuable lessons. For example, now that I’ve learned how to express myself through a recording a little better, I can use this for my media journalism classes during the semester. The things I learned at internship will definitely carry on through the rest of my educational and journalistic career.