It only took Abbey Taylor half an hour to realize she was going to enjoy her summer interning for WCIA-TV.
“From all the movies you see, you think of grabbing the coffee, answering the phones, not really getting hands-on experience,” said Taylor, an EIU journalism student who was hired by the Champaign, Ill.-based television station to help out for a few months between semesters.
“After being there for only 30 minutes, I was out with a reporter, watching them interview different people. After that first day, I remember calling my mom and saying ‘this is perfect for me.’”
Taylor wasn’t new to a TV newsroom; now back at Eastern, she is in her third year working on WEIU-TV’s award-winning News Watch program.
“I felt at home when I toured (WCIA’s facility),” remembers Taylor. “It was similar to WEIU; they do the same editing system, and they have the same writing system. I knew I would be comfortable because I already had that background.”
Think about what Taylor is saying and then think about WEIU’s primary objective with News Watch: preparing its graduates to be capable assets from Day One in a professional TV news environment. It’s just another piece of evidence — and there’s already a mountain of it in the form of former News Watchers working in the professional ranks — that the objective is being met.
“I think the cool part about going into every day was that I didn’t know what I was going to do,” recalls Taylor. Her duties ranged from calling various sources to see if she could procure leads for potential stories, shadowing reporters, or even getting to go out with a camera operator and report on her own.
“Some days I would just hang out with a producer, and he or she would give me different stories to write,” added Taylor. “I think the one thing i enjoyed the most was being able to write a story and then the producer or reporter would sit with me and tell me everything I did right or everything I did wrong. I felt like that was the biggest help.”
And Taylor knows you can never get too much of that sort of help.
“The few months I had at WCIA won’t just benefit me for those three months,” she explained. “It’s going to benefit me for the rest of my career. It’s going to help me when I go back to WEIU; it’s going to help me when I’m applying for my first job.”