By Leslie Ravencroft, Class of 2019
Renew changed my whole outlook on my future.
I started my internship at ABC7 News in Chicago by shadowing meteorologist Larry Mowry. I watched Larry and the anchors record their live newscast throughout the morning. It was filmed sporadically and unlike anything I had seen before. One minute I was having a conversation with Larry and the next minute he was live on the air pointing at a green screen. He also gave me a tour of the entire ABC building, including all the floors and sets where broadcasts are filmed.
On Friday, I was able to experience life away from the camera and learned what it is like to write, create, and produce the show. I sat in the control room as they broadcast the live morning show and the 11 am show. This was pretty hectic, as the control of the broadcast was in the hands of these three producers. They were in control of which cameras were used and who was on air at a certain time.
I met with sports anchor Dionne Miller and learned about her journey to become a sports anchor and how she got to where she is today. It was interesting to watch her write a script for an upcoming segment and to see what her daily life was like. I had the privilege of watching her speak about a previous hockey game, but I particularly appreciated her thoughts on the challenge of being a female sports anchor. I loved learning how hard she works to know her facts under pressure and the respect that she gains from this job.
Dionne also shared amazing advice with me, which I could share with my peers who had an interest in broadcasting. She told me that there are unlimited opportunities in broadcasting, with many jobs and chances for the future. Dionne encouraged me not to not feel like it’s impossible to get involved in the news and broadcasting business, because it is very possible and accessible. Her final piece of advice was to make connections to people and to get internships. Internships in college are your way into jobs after college — experience is key for broadcasting.
On Monday, I had the opportunity to go out with the reporting team on a story. We visited a grade school in the west side of Chicago that educates children from low-income families. I watched the team take footage and write the script. It was amazing to see the joy brought to the little children as they were presented with new books and chairs for their classroom.
I had the pleasure of spending the rest of the week with Tracy Butler, Chicago’s longest running female meteorologist, having worked there for 24 years. I was able to see Tracy get her makeup and hair done. Then to each cut in of the live broadcast each morning and even going live on ESPN radio! She was incredibly welcoming and compassionate towards me and encouraged me to chase after my goals.
Tracy explained her experience in broadcasting and how it has been tough working such early hours. She has to be at the studio at 3 am and works until noon. I learned that to work in broadcasting, you have to be driven and determined because of the competitive nature of the business. Tracy stressed the need to have a thick skin and the determination to get back up after you get knocked down.
Tracy’s incredibly positive and encouraging spirit has continued to inspire me to pursue my goals and not to feel that I should settle for my future, but to dream big!
Rather than being an actual internship, this experience was called shadowing as I spent my time observing. Don’t get discouraged when you hear “observing,” because this was still highly informative, very fun, and extremely educational. Meeting so many employees, learning about their profession, and thinking about what I would work best in, was an overall amazing experience that I highly recommend if you are considering journalism and broadcasting.
What made it so amazing was that, above all, Dionne and Tracy encouraged me to pursue broadcasting because of the never ending possibilities. As technology improves and society changes, years from now, even more opportunities will be possible. It just requires someone with a strong will to pursue it.
Leslie Ravencroft is a junior at Timothy Christian Schools. She loves to sing and is in chamber choir. She also enjoys nature and spending time with family.