The Power of Networking: How One Student Found Her Dream Internship

Communication graduate Jordan Wilkerson has known since she was in junior high that she wanted to report the weather. Her drive landed her an internship at KOMO 4 News working with lead weather forecaster Steve Pool. Last fall Jordan came to IAS Internship Program Manager, Julie Miller, for advice on how to get an internship at a TV station. She told her it’s done through networking – you have to know someone or know someone who knows someone – and then gave her tips on how to approach people. Jordan was committed to doing what it takes to reach her goal, and after being turned down by Seattle’s major TV stations, she decided to try a newspaper instead. She reached out the Kitsap Sun, and in her conversation with the weather editor, disclosed that she had hoped for an internship in television. It turned out that the editor had done an internship at KOMO. Now Jordan knew someone who knew someone. He referred her to Scott Sistek, KOMO’s staff meteorologist, who invited Jordan for a studio tour. Jordan went with the understanding that the station had no internships opened at the time, but during her tour she had a conversation with Steve Pool. It resulted in Jordan being offered an internship a couple of weeks later. When her Winter quarter internship was completed, she was invited to stay on for Spring quarter. Jordan’s faculty supervisor was IAS Director and COM faculty member Bill Kunz, who was greatly impressed with Jordan’s initiative and drive.  Jordan said all of the reporters at KOMO were helpful, encouraging and willing to mentor her. Steve Pool not only taught her the required technical skills, but gave her generous and practical advice on getting her career started. Meteorologist Shannon O’Donnell took her under wing and taught her the ropes, and several other reporters allowed her to shadow them. Jordan came away from her internship with irreplaceable hands on experience of the day-to-day workings of a studio, networking contacts, and opportunities to make a demo reel. Steve Pool takes mentoring seriously, and goes above and beyond to help his interns. As he puts it; “Internships are especially important for students interested in broadcast journalism. It’s the only chance they will have to actually interface with the technologies that are used in the business. It is difficult and cost prohibitive for most schools to be able to replicate what goes on in the real world. Beyond that, it’s a great way for students to learn from those of us in the business about the subtleties and nuances that are so important to their success. I think that what happens here will go a long way in helping students like Jordan Wilkerson to get started and enjoy a successful career.” Indeed it did. At the end of Spring quarter Jordan was hired at KEPR, the CBS affiliate station in Pasco, as both a weather reporter and a feature reporter.

 

Posted: 
June 26, 2014