Madison O’Conner spent her summer working as a news intern at the Grand Rapids Press/MLive Grand Rapids. She worked in downtown Grand Rapids covering various stories.
O’Conner was working alongside other reporters, in the video rooms, newsrooms and more. She was doing the same activities a full-time reporter would be doing. O’Conner was treated like a real reporter rather than an intern. Over her summer, MLive gave her a “mini beat” to cover with Bethany Christian Services, a nonprofit organization. She attended press conferences, interviewed individuals and watched reunifications with families.
Her work days started early and at times they went late into the afternoon. She remarked on how she struggled to get used to the long, full-time job days. Each day, she was making calls, setting up interviews for different days and emailing individuals. About twice a week, she’d get out of the office and do an interview, press conference or event coverage.
Through all these responsibilities, she learned an immense amount of information. One thing she found college prepared her for was being confident in her writing abilities and interviewing skills. Coming from school, she knew how to structure a pitch or email in order to get an interview. The professional environment in which she worked was a learning process which she did not experience in her college studies. She learned how to structure her writing, and how to answer phone calls including what to say compared to what not to say. She was able to watch and listen to other reporters to see how they do their job effectively.
O’Conner’s favorite part of being an intern was getting to know the people who she got to work with. They had success in mind for her and drove her to become the best she could be. She also enjoyed her experience in a new city, trying new places. One of the more surprising aspects of her internship was the feeling of working full time. There were days she was working more than nine hours to finish up a story.
After her internship, O’Conner is confident in moving forward with the great connections she’s made. She’s able to reach out to people with questions and know who to contact. She has newsroom experience to bring into future careers.
O’Conner gave some tips to other students. She mentioned when looking for internships, start somewhere and apply everywhere. Also, she advised not to apply only to large companies because you never know where the best experience will be. O’Conner is currently an intern at the Lansing State Journal and plans on looking for another summer internship.