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NBC12 offers Robertson School students exclusive internship

Feb 14, 2017

Posted in: News

By William Lineberry

The VCU Richard T. Robertson School of Media and Culture and local broadcast news station NBC12 have partnered to offer an exclusive internship program to Robertson School students.

The program is a first for both the School and NBC12, as the news station has never before offered an exclusive internship program with a major university. The School designed the internship program with the help of journalism instructor, and former NBC12 reporter, Sean Collins-Smith. The idea was to build a bridge between the largest communications school in Virginia and the number one broadcast news station in the city, Smith said.

“I thought that it would be beneficial for students to have an internship where they weren’t just doing it to fulfill a requirement,” Smith said. “It behooved me to want my students to know what it’s like to work at a number one station and to have experienced the culture of one.”

Bradford Ambrose, Wanya Reese and Peyton Mannon, all broadcast journalism majors, are the first cohort from the School to intern at NBC12 under the new program. Since January, the three have been reporting to NBC12 shadowing a wide array of employees at the station, from audio techs to field reporters.  

Wanya Reese, Bradford Ambrose and Peyton Mannon at NBC12's studio in Richmond. They are the first cohort of interns to be a part of the NBC12, Robertson School Internship program.
Wanya Reese, Bradford Ambrose and Peyton Mannon at NBC12's studio in Richmond. They are the first cohort of interns to be a part of the NBC12, Robertson School Internship program.
“It’s been an incredible experience so far,” Ambrose said. “I grew up watching NBC12 so to be able to intern there is a dream come true for me.”

Ambrose, who plans on becoming a meteorologist, is currently shadowing NBC12’s weekend meteorologist Ros Runner. Each Sunday, he works alongside the Runner at NBC12 to compile a forecast, update the mobile app and website and helps plan for the evening’s weather report.

Bradford Ambrose (left) works alongside NBC12's weekend meteorologist Ros Runner.
Bradford Ambrose (left) works alongside NBC12's weekend meteorologist Ros Runner.
Smith said one component he wanted for this internship was flexibility. The thought was that this flexibility from NBC12 would allow the students participating to really focus their energy on a specific newsroom job and to shadow positions that they hope to one day occupy. If students wanted to produce, they would shadow producers; if they wanted to be a meteorologist—like Ambrose--they would shadow and work with a meteorologist, Smith said.

“I think learning from people that are currently in the industry and doing what we want to be doing every day is invaluable,” Hannon said. “The Robertson School and our professors do an amazing job in the classroom, but there is nothing like learning on the job.” 

Without this type of immersion into a reporting or producing position, students can’t really be sure if a career in news is for them, Smith said. Adding to that, Smith said, that the internship should help students “cement” the idea that they want to work in news.

For Reese, the internship has done just that. Every Wednesday and Friday, Reese’s day starts at 2:15 a.m., when he begins preparing to go work the morning shift at the station.  

“I’ve enjoyed waking up that early because it’s always something new when I go into the station,” Reese said. “I could be helping the floor monitor run the floor, doing production, audio or sometimes even going out with a reporter. This has definitely solidified me wanting to be a news reporter once I graduate.”

The internship program will have cohorts in both the fall and the spring. Interested Robertson School applicants should contact Smith directly, collinssmisc@vcu.edu.