Wednesday, January 21, 2009

First day.

Yesterday was the first day of my internship at KPHO. My schedule is Tuesdays and Thursdays from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. It's definitely longer than I would like, but I'm required to complete 280 hours by the end of the semester. I think I'll survive.

I woke up yesterday morning at 4:45 and left my house at a quarter to 5. I learned I'm not very good at this commuting thing. I live about 30 miles away from the station and this creates a lot of problems for me. On the one hand, I don't want to hit rush hour traffic so I have to make sure I leave early enough. On the other, I don't want to leave too early because I'll wind up sitting in my car once I get there, which is what happened yesterday. I listened to the radio for a bit, put on some lipstick, sifted through some paperwork, checked my phone (why?), and finally decided to go in at 6:45. A person can only pretend to be busy for so long.

The newsroom looks exactly as you'd expect a newsroom to look. There are monitors everywhere. Producers sit at computers and write ferociously. Each desk has a small TV so the producers can watch the news all day long. The set is off to the side and looks so pretty in person. The assignment desk is in the front, and editing bays line the perimeter.

The internship is set up in two-week rotations. My first rotation is the website. So, I basically get to update the content on the station's website. The editor's name is Nicole, and she is a nice girl. She is also very short and I felt extremely self-conscious whenever we'd stand up to go somewhere. I am not tall by any means (five-foot-three) but I literally tower over her. I think I'll wear flats for the next two weeks.

Nicole put me to work write away (pun is, in fact, intended). I quickly realized how well the BYU Comms program has prepared me for this internship. Writing for web is basically the same as writing for a newspaper, which is very different from broadcast writing. There are a lot of silly rules you have to remember for print writing, but I remembered most of them from my Spring 2006 news writing class with Dr. Stoker (never thought I'd thank that man for anything, but I've been humbled). I think Nicole was surprised at how fast I learned how to use the newsroom software, and how quickly I can crank out stories.

At 9:00, Nicole and I went to the staff story meeting. The executive producers, reporters, and directors were all sitting around the conference room table. I felt a little like a fish out of water. I've been to story meetings before, but I've never seen a group of people talk so fast. It was as if they could read each other's minds and I could barely keep up. All I heard was "Salmonella? Inauguration? Secretary? Foreclosures?" and so forth. I participated as much as I could, but for the most part, I was lost. At one point, we turned on a television set in the conference room to watch the inauguration. Everyone was saying how cool it was that they got to watch history in the newsroom. I'll surely never forget where I was when the first black president was inaugurated.

After the story meeting, I went back to work. I wrote probably 12 stories and created a few quizzes as I watched the inauguration on 15 different monitors.

Each time I finished a story, I had to email it to be proofread. The proofreading center is somewhere on the east coast. Nicole described it to me as "a bunch of people sitting at cubicles, waiting for emails to proofread." What a life! It took about 5-10 minutes for my story to come back to me, complete with blue edits. Nicole warned me these editors were ruthless and my stories might be covered in blue, but I was relieved to see very few edits. Four of my stories came back completely clean. Take that, ruthless editor people.

At 2 p.m., Phil showed up. Phil is Nicole's boss, basically. I thought he was very nice. He's pretty hands-off, but he was happy to help if I had a question.

I am sure many of you are wondering at this point if I have met any of the anchors. The answer is YES, but it wasn't difficult. The talent roam around the newsroom all day and are actively involved in the newsmaking process. So far, I have met Nicole Crites, Sean McLaughlin, Paul Horton and Kent Dana. I also met Marcy Valenzuela who does the CBS-5 Time-Saver Traffic.

The truth is, the anchors are really just normal people. You can't easily tell them apart from the rest of the newsroom. They're not celebrities and they don't try to be. Their role is to be the face of the news and they embrace that role fully. In short, they are nothing like Ron Burgundy.

I left the newsroom at a quarter to 5 and didn't hit any traffic until I got to I-10. Go figure. It crawled at a snail's pace the rest of the way. Bubby was sick yesterday so Dill stayed home with her. She was overjoyed to see me when I finally got home.

It was weird how I spent my whole day in a professional workplace and came home to Motherhood as if nothing had changed. Bubby whined and wrapped herself around my legs, Dill asked me what I was going to make for dinner (answer: bean burritos). We put Bubbs to bed, curled up on the couch with our burritos and watched American Idol. I tried to watch The Biggest Loser but fell asleep at 8:30. I was pooped.

Today, I'm just a mom, blogging while my baby naps. I've got a kitchen to clean, carpets to vacuum, and a Bubby to play with. Tomorrow, it's back to the station.

Check out one of my stories from yesterday.


  1. Jenna, that is freakin amazing. I hope no one gave you crap about being married and being a mom. However, it does come in handy to casually say when a guy comes to flirt with you...

  2. I for one like the fact that your baby is named Bubby.

  3. that is so cool...but it dosen't give you credit for writing it...?

  4. Which do you like more? ;o) is it fun being out of the house a few times a week? Do you want to work there when you're done? I want to hear more! Great blog!


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