Interning in the Time of COVID-19

By Dean’s Intern Willard West at NBC4

UnknownThroughout my internship on the digital desk at NBC Washington, my favorite thing was being in the newsroom. It was filled with noise — a police scanner constantly buzzing, an editor yelling instructions to the news chopper or across the room to a reporter, reporters chatting about the news of the day. The sounds helped to make it exciting and new every day.

Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, I would key into the newsroom, and as the sliding doors opened, noise would erupt into the hall. It was invigorating. With a mug of coffee in hand, I would sit down and start cutting videos from broadcasts, turning police statements and information from reporters in the field into stories for the website.

As coronavirus started spreading in DC, we were forced to start working from home. Thankfully, I can still do my internship from my home in Wisconsin. I was never in a position where I was helping make TV, so I was fortunate enough to continue my internship. I help make information and segments from TV accessible on the internet, though we also produce a fair amount of original content. 

Now I help produce web content from my childhood bedroom and kitchen table. The newsroom noises I loved to have humming in the background have been replaced by my dog’s barking and my family. I’m in a very privileged position to still be working (well, at least until May 8) during this difficult period for so many, and to have the support of my family in a comfortable home with plenty to eat. But it still feels as though I’ve slid backwards.

I know practically everyone else in my graduating class faces much uncertainty ahead. But in this time of social isolation, it is impossible not to feel somewhat alone. While things can seem a bit bleak right now, we have a lot to look forward to. And we have learned a new kind of resilience through this experience.