Department of Communication student Gina Cuccio recently completed an internship with WISN, the local ABC news affiliate, and her experience was memorable because of the tasks she completed and the community she witnessed.
Gina’s relationship with WISN started before she attended the university.
“I applied to WISN Channel 12 News because it has always been my dream internship. I grew up watching them because my parents always watched it themselves. So when I first met all of the anchors and reporters I was a little stars struck, as silly as that sounds. I also wanted to see what it would be like to work at a news station. There are so many possible job fields as a communications major so I wanted to start narrowing down what’s best for me,” she said.
What people see during a news broadcast is the result of a detailed process. Gina was able to engage in this process during the internship.
“Usually I started by attending the afternoon planning meeting where the writers, producers, anchors and reporters all come together to pitch story ideas and a plan to make them happen. Then, I accompany a reporter out on assignment. My tasks during each assignment vary drastically because we could be going anywhere from a house fire to an interview. After we get back to the station, the nightside producer usually assigns me a couple of smaller stories to write the script for and format,” she said.
One important purpose of internships is to provide students with “real-world” experience, something a classroom setting cannot replicate. The unexpected may be the most memorable, and Gina was fortunate to have several of these moments.
“The first was when I got to personally meet Mayor Tom Barrett during a press conference in Milwaukee. The second was riding along with an organization called Street Angels that works to transport homeless people to shelters when it’s extremely cold. There have honestly been so many unique experiences and I’ve been blessed to meet some very wonderful people,” she said.
Not everything during an internship is roses, but Gina learned about herself and her work habits during these challenges.
“I think the hardest part of the internship for me was just learning to format the scripts. There are a lot of keyboard tricks to memorize and different computer programs to learn to put it all together. I’ve worked to overcome this challenge by learning to ask for help when I need it. I’ve always been the type of person to figure things out on my own so as not to bother other people, but it’s crucial for the station’s success that every story is written and formatted properly. Not being afraid to ask for help is truly the best way for me to learn and feel confident in my work,” she said.
There have honestly been so many unique experiences and I’ve been blessed to meet some very wonderful people
Gina’s experience with WISN provided her with practical and personal experiences. She is grateful for this knowledge as she progresses towards her degree in Mass Communication.
“I branched out of my comfort zone and did some broadcast journalism when all I’ve ever really focused on was print journalism. I also now have a greater understanding and appreciation of what goes on behind the news that I watch, having been on the other side,” Gina said.
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