Lights, Camera, Action: Journalism Student Spends Summer Interning for Conan

When journalism junior Nicholas Stahl was a teenager, he spent his nights staying up too late binge-watching the Conan O’Brien show. It had always been a dream of his to work for a late night talk show, Conan in particular. Little did he know that this dream would soon become a reality. 

Stahl is now a production intern for Conan O’Brien in Burbank, California. For him, every day is different, depending on what is needed for each specific show. Stahl feels as though this variation is what makes the job so enjoyable.

“All the production interns watch rehearsal every day and act as a test audience for the jokes which is always a blast,” said Stahl. “Then the talent arrives and we are on-call for anything anyone might need. The show is then recorded and when it’s finished we get to go home. It’s invaluable work experience and a pretty incredible work day.”

Considering the wide variety of activities Stahl has been lucky to experience, it’s hard for him to pick one favorite. He describes Warner Brothers studio as surreal, and the entire Conan team as incredibly friendly. But when it comes down to it, Comic Con takes the gold.

“If I had to single out my absolute favorite thing, it would definitely be traveling to San Diego and filming a week of shows at Comic Con,” said Stahl. “It was immersive, exhausting and one of the best weeks of my life. I grew really close to the staff, was lucky enough to be part of production for a sketch and had a conversation with Channing Tatum.”

Being a fan from the start, this internship was always on Stahl’s radar. But it wasn’t until he received information from the Career Center that he realized it may be more than just a pipe dream.

“The first time I knew it was a very real possibility was when Karin Hanson from ComArtSci’s Career Center said that MSU students had interned there before,” said Stahl. “The internship coordinator at Conan is also a Spartan alumnus so that further encouraged me to apply.”

Like many journalism students, Stahl found one class in particular to be helpful in terms of his internship. Though he hasn’t been writing actual stories, Stahl nonetheless credits JRN 200 in giving him the experience he needed to be successful.

“The most helpful class that I’ve taken was definitely JRN 200 with Joanne C. Gerstner,” said Stahl. “I learned more than just journalism in that class. Professor Gerstner is an exceptional mentor, teacher and leader. She is especially helpful and played a crucial role in me getting this internship.”

So what’s his lasting advice? Take advantage of all that ComArtSci has to offer. There’s always someone here to help you, whether it’s editing your resume or finding an actual internship.

“I would not have gotten my internship without the help from ComArtSci Career Center,” said Stahl. “I spoke with Karin Hanson frequently and I am very thankful for all of her advice, guidance and help. I also received assistance from Amy Haimerl and Joanne C. Gerstner on my cover letter and resume.”

Stahl notes that even when an internship seems far out of your reach, it doesn’t hurt to apply. It could turn out to be an amazing opportunity that you may have missed if you didn’t give it a shot.

“Apply early, apply to many and be patient. I’m still flabbergasted that I received this extraordinary opportunity, but after many months of waiting and hoping, I ended up being offered my dream internship.”

By Katie Kochanny