SNHU’s Introduction to Journalism class traveled to New England Cable News’ (NECN) headquarters in Newton, Massachusetts on March 1 for an inside look at how a broadcast news station runs.
The Career Development Center set up the field trip as a first meet and greet between SNHU students and NECN to prepare for an internship program at the network for the university’s students.
The trip began with a campus tour of NECN’s growing offices. As of January 1, NBC Universal, the parent company of NECN, launched an NBC-owned station and now shares the television studio with NECN.
Annie Peters, the vice president of sales, led the tour throughout the different departments of the station. She brought the group through each section of the main building including the various newsrooms where the anchors present the running news of the day.
Along the tour, several news anchors and writers answered student questions about what a job in news consists of and summarized their positions as a life, not a profession.
“It was really interesting to talk to some of the higher ups as well as the on-air talent,” said Josh Irizarry, a junior at SNHU. “I felt like it did help me get an inside look on the whole business.”
To end the tour, the students attended a panel discussion with Kenny Plotnik, the vice president of news. Anchor Phil Lipof, reporter Perry Russom, and investigative reporter Ally Donnelly joined Plotnik to give the students a better handle on the business.
Plotnik spoke about what it takes to make it in broadcast news. He said he looks for “passion, intelligence, an understanding of news and a personality to fit the station’s culture” in candidates for internships and permanent positions.
According to Plotnik, the internships are ground level experience and experience is exactly what directors are looking for in applicants.
Lipof, Russom and Donnelly supported their co-workers’ statements about how news is not a job, but rather a lifestyle that consumes you. The panelists ensured that the students were aware that those looking for a future in the business can expect to work 20 hours a day, seven days a week.
Michael Rowley, a senior at SNHU, attended the trip and enjoyed the behind the scenes look at how a studio like that is run. “It was cool to see how passionate the reporters and anchors were about their work.”
Following the panel, the vice president of news gave students his business cards and encouraged them to submit writing samples based on an assignment he gave them.
NECN is currently looking to fill six news producer openings as well as several open internship positions.