Communication major Raychelle Riley spent the summer of 2019 interning for Southeastern alumna Robin Roberts at Good Morning America (GMA) in New York City. This phenomenal educational opportunity was created through a partnership between Robin and the Southeastern Foundation. As the first recipient of this internship, Raychelle recounts her hands-on learning experience while working with Robin at GMA.
As the sun rises to welcome the early morning faces of the ever-busy population, the lights of city buildings fill the dark morning skies. Before the rooster crows, I start my fast-paced day at GMA.
Inside the studio, an urgency fills the air as employees scurry around through the busy halls. Nothing was ever certain until the moment everything goes live. Lights. Camera. Action. Go! Go! Go!
Finally, after a long hectic morning, employees head to the office and back to the drawing board to do it all over again in less than 24 hours.
Excitement, thrill, and chaos, such as this, can only be experienced in live television and broadcast at studios such as GMA. This amazing place is where it all began for me each day. In the heart of the city and in the middle of Times Square is where GMA, the number one rated morning newscast, is located.
During the summer, I was afforded and blessed with the unique opportunity to be a part of the Disney owned company, ABC News, to serve as the first-ever personal intern of Robin Roberts.
I thoroughly enjoyed many aspects of the internship. It was really exciting to work with so many different departments and areas within the studio.
Within these various departments, I gained experience in areas that included working the cameras, stage managing, audio operations, stage hands, reporting and anchoring, producing, script coordinating, wardrobe, research, digital, and special projects.
Although some days were long and intense, it was very rewarding to see my work used. Just knowing I had a part in the inner workings of the show was an amazing realization.
The team was so warm, kind, welcoming, and ready to share any knowledge with a curious intern, such as myself.
In addition to the excitement and exhilaration of television and broadcast, the delivery of raw news represents the voice of America, which provides individuals a sense of involvement in the society around us.
It was important that we made sure the content we distributed was unbiased, fact-checked and correct, and followed legal guidelines and codes.
Working as Robin’s intern was a dream come true, providing a crash course in professionalism and finesse. It was a wonderful experience accompanying her on shoots and observing her work in broadcast news. I was given the opportunity to work with, shadow, and be a real part of “Team Robin” in so many different capacities. I also conducted research and pitched ideas for upcoming stories, shows, segments, and a movie.
One of the big takeaways I learned from Robin is to be authentic and to always be yourself—that is what it takes to stay grounded and connect with others in a real way. She exemplifies this every day when she is on air.
Robin is exactly the same on and off camera, and you can see that she connects with viewers on a deeper level. She expresses real emotion and cares about what she is doing.
Over the course of my internship, I was able to quickly adapt to my surroundings and execute the task at hand. I gained a great deal of experience in a multitude of areas. I became familiar with various types of software used and was able to research stories to pitch to the producers when I had the opportunity.
I was given specific times to observe many of the stage producers and learn about how they communicate and obtain information. I was allowed to help prep for particular segments. I also watched Robin as she prepped for the shows, watched news broadcasts go live, and experienced all of the “camera magic” that goes on behind the scenes.
The controller’s room was a busy area where I was able to observe how everything operated.
One of the main things that amazed me was the lingo that was used during the show. I wore a headset on several days with directors and stage managers shouting out foreign phrases. After a while, I was finally able to catch on.
Before, in between, and following segments, I was also able to meet other producers, crew members, and even celebrities who came as guests for the show. Meeting such an array of individuals was quite interesting and a great learning experience.
GMA was more than I could have hoped for in an internship. One of the best moments during my internship was going live, on-air for GMA, as a GMA Intern Correspondent. The internship was an incredible journey and an amazing learning experience. I hope to use the tools I have gained in my future career.