NBCLA.com Internship Testimonial: Olivia Niland, USC 2016

As a journalism student, I’m always asked what my dream job is, or where I see myself five years from now. The truth is, given how quickly the field is changing, that’s an almost impossible question to answer, but what I do know is that I loved strengthening my skills and working full-time alongside the NBC Los Angeles Digital Team this summer.

I’ve always been interested in online journalism; I love writing, and I practically live on the Internet, so I found my NBCLA internship to be a perfect fit. The entire Digital Team, and in fact everyone in the newsroom, was incredibly informative and willing to teach, but I also found that I strengthened my skills immensely just by becoming familiar with the tasks that were expected of me.

The most important skills I brought into this internship were knowledge and a nose for news, being social media savvy, and the ability to report quickly and cleanly. I can already tell that my reporting has improved significantly, and I learned a great deal about video editing and broadcast news in general.

While at NBCLA, I wrote multiple articles almost every day, created content for social media, and even got to go out in the field with one of the station’s seasoned reporters. I loved being able to see how NBC4 operates from all angles, and between working nights and weekends, from covering wildfires to car chases, there was really never a dull moment.

During one of my most memorable days in the newsroom, I helped cover a fire that had jumped the 15 Freeway and was burning up cars, leaving drivers stranded. I contributed by posting the live footage on Instagram and Vine, and before I knew it, we had been covering the fire for nearly four hours. It was an absolutely crazy day and a true test of my breaking news skills, but I couldn’t imagine trying to cover that a news event like that with anyone other than the NBCLA Digital Team.

One of the larger projects I worked on over the summer was the Watts 50th anniversary special, which was a huge undertaking by both broadcast and digital. I also got to be a part of the nationwide Clear the Shelters campaign for animal adoption, and see how that was implemented from broadcast, digital, and social media angles. I was really amazed by how many moving parts there are in a newsroom that is part broadcast and part digital, and by how everyone involved has to strategically coordinate and always be able to multitask.

I truly didn’t expect to be lucky enough to find an internship that aligned so perfectly with my journalistic strengths and interests. This really is the future of the field and all of these skills are so valuable, not just for someone who wants to focus on digital journalism specifically, but also for anyone who wants to pursue the journalism field. I loved always being in the know about breaking news and up-and-coming technology. I feel more prepared to go back to my journalism studies, and to take on other internships in the future with the knowledge I’ve gained.

There are a few things that immediately stand out to me as the most important take-aways of my internship with NBCLA. Firstly, my writing has become much cleaner, and I’m now more confident in my reporting. I also gained insight into just how invaluable social media is to news organizations, and better understand how each platform needs to be strategically addressed.

Finally, I really enjoyed working full-time in such a fast-paced newsroom, with a highly-skilled and organized team. I loved spending my summer at NBC Los Angeles and would absolutely recommend this internship to anyone interested in pursuing digital journalism.

Link: Read Olivia's stories

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