Caitlin Coughlin, a senior communications major, was able to experience the fast-paced lifestyle of a television reporter during her time as a summer intern with WFMZ-TV 69News—pivoting between planned local features to assisting with breaking news. The experience left Coughlin with a greater appreciation for television production, production value, and running a news corporation—as well as the work of the reporters going live from the scene.
“My favorite part of the internship was the first time I went with a reporter who went live from the scene we were at,” Coughlin said. “Originally, we were going to an ice cream social but there was no real news to cover there. As we got back in the car, we received a call from our station about a car crash on a major route. We got as close as the police would let us and we were standing in the middle of a usually busy road. The reporter and photojournalist taught me how they go live and what equipment they needed. I learned so much that night. It was also the first night one of my photos was published on the website.”
Coughlin’s internship duties included writing scripts and teasers for the anchors to read on the 5:30 pm and 10:30 pm newscasts, traveling with photojournalists and reporters on assignment, and taking pictures on site and at events to be used on the 69News website. Coughlin's script and teaser writing abilities are new skills she can now add to her repertoire.
“I never had a background in script writing so it was definitely something new for me to learn,” she said. “It was difficult at first but I eventually got the hang of it. I also learned that producing is a lot of planning. As a producer, you write a majority of the scripts for the specific newscast you are producing, you put the show in the order that you think works best, but you also need to be prepared for all of your work to be erased with just one breaking news story. For example, around 8:00 pm one night, the county was under a tornado warning. The producer had to scrap a ton of the day’s work to fit in the tornado warning story for the 10:30 pm newscast.”
After completing her internship at 69News, Coughlin walked away with a stronger desire to work in the TV field as a producer or similar behind-the-scenes role.
“After doing this internship, I would love to have a career in TV after graduating. I’ve always loved learning about the behind-the-scenes of anything that has to do with television and this internship was a nice reminder that this is the right field for me.”