One of the biggest reasons I chose to come to Northwestern was because of the Journalism Residency program through the Medill School of Journalism. I knew that I wanted to study journalism in college and no other university that I had looked at had anything quite like JR. Every Medill student is required to spend one quarter during their third or fourth year doing an internship for course credit. It’s an amazing way to gain real world experience in a newsroom and make valuable networking connections before graduation. Medill has relationships with news outlets and marketing agencies across the country where students are assigned to complete their JR. While most students are matched with one of these pre-selected JR sites just a couple of months before their start date, I had a slightly different experience.
Almost a full year before my JR was scheduled to start in February of 2018, I got an email from a Medill professor with a job listing for the Winter Olympic Internship Program with NBC Universal. The professor encouraged me to apply and said that, if I was selected, I could use the internship as my Journalism Residency. Thanks to a combination of good timing and support from my professor, I submitted my application and waited. After a few rounds of interviews and seemingly months of waiting, I got a call from in late August offering me a position as an intern in PyeongChang. I was overjoyed and immediately contacted my academic advisor in Medill to make sure that my internship would count for JR. I learned pretty soon that I wouldn’t be the only Northwestern student in Korea – eight fellow Wildcats made the 15-hour flight with me in early February.
My month with NBC Winter Olympics was the most exciting and rewarding experience of my Northwestern career. Interns were spread across PyeongChang working in different venues with specific roles to make the broadcast come together. Some handled athletes making sure they got to the ice on time or to the post-game press conference, and others logged footage of every ski run, luge run, or hockey game. I was one of the interns at the International Broadcast Center and was stationed at the SportsDesk. The SportsDesk was an office of 12 producers, six on-camera talent, and 20 camera men who were in charge of creating features for the show “Olympic O-Zone,” which premiered nightly before the primetime coverage, and covered breaking news. This was amazing for me because it meant that I got to help produce content about a variety of different sports and topics. As a Logger, I primarily spent the early part of the internship transcribing interviews. I was exposed to many fascinating people, like the founder of the first K-Pop dance school in Seoul and the American assistant coach of the United Korean Women’s Hockey Team. Over the course of my time at the SportsDesk, I proved myself to my supervisors and was able to gain more responsibilities. I conducted research for producers, ingested and organized footage, and even coordinated an on-site interview for NBCSN. Over the course of my internship, I also made it abundantly clear that I was a huge curling fan. That eventually paid off when the U.S. Men’s Curling team made a surprising gold medal run. Nobody in my office knew enough about the sport to report on it so I spent the last three days of my internship at the curling venue assisting the cameramen and the reporters.
While the work I did was important, some of my favorite memories of working at the Olympics happened when I wasn’t working. One afternoon I was eating lunch in the cafeteria with my friend when Shaun White came to sit with us and we talked about how he cried while watching Moana. Another night I bumped into Olympic curler Becca Hamilton and she asked me to compete in a charity curling tournament with her. I regrettably declined the invitation because of my very low curling competency level. And I got to witness the historic women’s hockey gold medal game between the U.S. and Canada that ended in a shootout.
I wouldn’t have been able to have this amazing experience without the support and flexibility of my Medill professors. I have found that Northwestern really places an emphasis on students’ applied learning experiences outside of the classroom and that has allowed me to explore a lot of opportunities that I otherwise wouldn’t have. Another great example of this is how Northwestern President Morty Schapiro personally helped me get a summer internship with the New England Patriots after he heard that I was a big fan and interested in sports journalism. While JR made Medill really exciting and unique to me as a prospective student, it is just one example of how Northwestern pushes its students to engage with the world outside of the classroom.
– Post written by Lyndsey Armacost, Medill ’18