’Today’ show “Scripps Kids” experience NYC
By Anna Strayer
It was Kaylee Bowers’ third day interning at the “Today” show. Before the sun had actually reached the horizon, she was booking guests’ cars on the computer in the Green Room, where comedian Kevin Hart was hanging out before his segment of the show. Hart noticed her and jokingly asked, “Why are you working?”
Scripps School senior Kaylee Bowers, posing for a “Today” show picture.
“[That day] was probably one of the best shifts,” said Bowers, a journalism major with a minor in meteorology, who interned at the “Today” show in New York City during the spring semester of the 2016 academic year.
Amidst all the ordinary tasks of the internship, there were endless networking opportunities. That’s what made the “Today” show internship extraordinary for Bowers, she said.
Each day allowed the interns to do some real work while having the chance to bump into celebrities such as Miley Cyrus, Chris Pratt and Melissa McCarthy. This experience has allowed Ohio University students like Bowers to apply skills they’ve learned from the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism, as well as to bring newfound skills back to campus with them.
One day while working at the front desk of 30 Rockefeller, sophomore Abby Baughan, who interned during the fall semester of 2016, was answering the phone when she received a call from a person saying, “This is Matt Lauer, can I talk to the producer?”
Scripps School sophomore Abby Baughan, setting up for the Macy’s Parade in New York City.
It was typical for people to call into the office and claim to know him, so that made Baughan skeptical as to whether or not this was, in fact, Matt Lauer. Hesitant to connect the caller right away, she instead went through the protocol of asking him for the name of his assistant. The person on the other end of the line answered every question correctly.
Finally, she decided to check the database to look at the caller’s number. It turned out to actually be Matt Lauer. She apologized and connected Lauer to the producer.
A day in the life of an intern can vary, depending on what shift he or she works for the day. Shifts begin as early as 5:30 a.m. Other shifts were the typical 9-5. For the early shifts, a black car service was sent to pick up the interns from their New York apartments. This made going to work before the city had even come alive not seem so bad.
The first shifts centered on that day’s show, while later shifts focused on preparation for the next day’s show. Some of the tasks interns completed included grabbing coffee for the anchors (also known as “the talent”), transcribing and logging show segments, researching, and helping producers.
Whenever there was downtime during a shift, Bowers would use that to her advantage to shadow the weather department.
“I was able to help build graphics that aired on the show. I learned about the different weather models and how they are used,” said Bowers. “I was NBC’s first unofficial weather intern. It was so great working with the weather department. I was able to work with Al Roker and Dylan Dreyer, too.”
The “Today” show atmosphere is supportive and respectful, according to Scripps students who have interned there, which in turn made them feel comfortable and excited to get to work there.
“Everyone there was so open and nice. I feel like the “Today” show is something you watch on TV and it feels like everyone is so genuine and nice and happy all the time,” said Baughan. “They actually are when you get there. It was easy to ask questions. Everyone was really approachable.”
The E.W. Scripps School of Journalism prepares students like Bowers and Baughan to tackle the internship in the big city by helping them build a solid journalism foundation.
“Being able to meet a deadline is really important, and I think that’s stressed here a lot in the Scripps School. If someone tells you to have something done by 5 o’clock, have it done by 3 o’ clock, so you can revise it and they can check it out,” Baughan said. “Make that deadline, and make it early.”
However, sometimes there is not always the opportunity to turn in an assignment early. That is when revising your work becomes essential.
“That’s another thing that’s been stressed here in my education [at Scripps]. Your first draft is never even close to what your final is, in any type of work you do,” Baughan said.
Confidence is key in a place like New York. Being sure of your own capabilities and having a willingness to learn will help make the transition easier and your time at the “Today” show successful, according to Baughan.
“A lot of people I interned with are now interning at other places. I have connections with other places, too, from this experience. And wherever anyone ends up going, I’ll feel like I have roots there, too,” Baughan said.
For future journalism students wanting to apply, Bowers and Baughan both agree to go for it.
“You need to say ‘yes.’ No matter what it is. You never know what will happen,” Bowers said.
“Go above what you think you are capable of. Don’t settle for mediocre. Go for things you might think are a little out of reach,” Baughan said.
That’s exactly what junior Micaela Marshall, a journalism major with a minor in marketing, is currently doing. She is spending this semester as a full-time intern at the “Today” show, as well as taking seven credits online.
Scripps School junior Micaela Marshall, standing in front of her “home away from home” in New York City.
“I did research on Mandy Moore prior to her coming on to promote ’This Is Us’ and I was able to meet her in person, which was such a thrilling experience since I have admired her since I was a little girl,” Marshall said.
As one can imagine, there is never a dull moment during this internship. And that is one of the best things about the “Today” internship.