From Press Briefings to Mass Shootings – My Summer was One to Remember

By Dean’s Intern Leanna Faulk at CNN

Leanna FaulkThis summer, I had the opportunity to intern with CNN at their international headquarters in Atlanta, GA. I worked within the National Desk department alongside a team of domestic news editors where we chased stories, interviewed sources, and assisted reporters on the field.

My day started at 7 am in our daily meeting in the “War Room” where writers, producers, and editors throughout the Bureau updated the team on everything and anything newsworthy around the country and beyond. This is where I would take notes on all of the stories we were following and also had the opportunity to pitch a few stories I felt CNN should be covering.

The rest of my day consisted of monitoring developing stories via social media, affiliate reporting, listening in on police scanners and congressional hearings. After I’d gathered all of the facts – I’d prepare a brief editorial synopsis which was then emailed to the entire international news staff across all platforms (this is where reporters and writers get their information).

I spent a lot of my downtime working with the Digital & Trending team to help write stories for One of my favorite stories that I wrote was about a Georgia couple who died within hours of each other. This sad yet loving story was one of the top-performing stories on all socials that day and earned over 1,000,000 views within the first 48 hours. I even got a shout-out from the President of CNN at our 9 am daily news briefing.

A few weeks later, only twenty minutes before my shift was about to end, we got a minor alert about a possible mass shooting at a garlic festival in California – with only two people (including myself) working at the news desk. After reaching out to possible victims via Twitter and calling into local businesses in the Gilroy area, my supervisor and I confirmed the shooting and an eight-hour workday quickly turned into 13. Covering the Gilroy shooting, followed by two more mass shootings in the following week, was a heartbreaking but vital task. Though it felt surreal to record history, I would trade anything to make this the last shooting I ever cover.