Monday, March 1, 2010

From Gordon College to CBS

Stephanie Leigh Bittner, an English and communication arts double major from Madison, Connecticut, writes from CBS in New York, where she is interning in the News Press Office.

What does it mean to be an intern in the CBS News Press Office? For starters, you are at the beck and call of six very stressed, overworked people for around 10 hours a day. It means you sit in on a meeting and are expected to know trigger words, research, and contribute to the conversation. It means you must know where your notebook and pen are at all times, and you’re always feverishly jotting down information.
But let’s back up . . .
My internship for the CBS Press Office began with a rundown of the office and its daily routine. I remember sitting on a grey, weathered couch in Sonya McNair’s office, in between two other interns—the southern blond, Sara, and the driven Pakistani, Samreen. We are the three S’s . . . and we were told what this internship experience would expect of us: integrity, promptness and follow-through.
Two weeks after my arrival in New York, I found myself wondering what I’d gotten myself into with news press. I remember sitting in Sonya’s office, feverishly scribbling down everything I was hearing from a CBS conference call being broadcasted through the entire building. Someone mentions the Copenhagen Summit, and soon I notice that none of my notes make sense. One sentence actually reads “Astronauts—globe spun, Scott Roderford trial, students being depressed.” Honestly, at that very moment, with the volume of fast information coming at me, I begin to feel woefully inept. I realize I have no idea who Felix is, and after a few references, I begin to understand “Babs” is Barbara Walters.
Seven weeks later, I am relieved to report that my experience at Gordon really prepared me for this internship and I’m doing very well here. For example, my writing and editing skills on the job were fine-tuned by my courses and assignments in the Jerusalem and Athens Forum; my attention to detail was assisted through my experience with Campus Events Council, and my planning skills were matured by my work in the Admissions Office.
I’ve flown to Miami to assist in Superbowl pregame broadcasts, written seven weeks’ worth of listings, and planned a party for Jen Ashton. I’ve ridden in cabs all over New York City, witnessed an office fire, managed bank statements, and collected guest lists of VIPs. Though none of this can be taught in an equation for success, my Gordon professors and supervisors prepared me beyond what most entry-level positions require. Next week I will be half-way done with my internship at CBS, and I have no doubt that with God’s blessing and Gordon’s preparation, I can handle anything that comes my way.”

Photo: Senior Gordon College student Stephanie Leigh Bittner with Bob Schieffer, an American television journalist and anchor of the CBS Evening News.

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