Journal of a Consumer Reports Intern

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During my internship with Susan Koeppen the consumer editor at KDKA I learned a lot about script writing and interviewing for television. I would write weekly Angie’s List reports for her to use on the newscasts and she would give me feedback. I was able to use the skills that I was taught in Dr. Davis’s Introduction to Media Production class during the news portion of the course. While KDKA does not set up their scripts in the double column style with video commands on one side and sound on the other, I was able to use the writing skills that Dr. Davis taught us to create newspackages from the soundbites, information, and b-roll I was provided with. Susan also aided me in the writing by offering her critiques and by telling me to write conversationally for television versus formally like you would for print. She also told me to be careful with dropping the “to be”s, as in, “the car needs [to be] washed” and told me that it was a Pittsburgh colloquialism and that if I included that in a writing sample or on my demo tape that news directors outside of Pittsburgh would think that I don’t know proper grammar. I was also able to use other skills learned in Dr. Davis’s course—one of those skills was interviewing people on camera. Dr. Davis taught us to always have our interviewees say and spell their first and last names for us on camera at the beginning of the interview in order to avoid messing any names up on television. He also taught us to ask questions that cannot be answered with a simple yes or no in order to try to get soundbites that are usable out of our interviewees. Both of these skills were very useful when I was out on shoots and getting interviews for Susan, because I already knew what she wanted from the interviewees and I knew how to get it. I improved upon my interviewing skills by adding a new type of interviewing to my repertoire; man-on-the-street, where you go out and ask random people on the street questions and try to get soundbites from them that you can use in your stories.

During my internship I also used skills that I learned from Mr. Safin’s field production course. While I was on shoots I was able to help the photographers pick shots to use for b-roll and places to frame interviewees with for shots. Mr. Safin taught us how to find interesting footage for televison and how to shoot it well, so it was nice to be able to work with the photographers and have knowledge of how they do their jobs. I also used writing and interview skills that I honed in his class thanks to our news package assignment we had to complete.

I also did a lot of research and fact checking for Susan’s stories. I was able to use skills that I had learned in Dr. Robinson’s writing for media class to aid me with this. I was able to go through vast amounts of information and to cut it down to the important facts that the audience would want to know. I wouldn’t have had such an easy time with this if I hadn’t done it before for class. I was also able to look at web articles and pair them down to news scripts. This class also taught me journalism and media ethics and thanks to that I felt as if I always had a firm idea as to where all the lines were and how to go about covering a story without overstepping any boundaries. All in all this internship reinforced and expanded upon theories and skills that I have learned in the classroom at Saint Vincent and it was a good supplementation to my education as a communication major who hopes to become a news reporter in the near future.

Remembering and Reunions

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Yes, it’s been 10 days and I’ve been busy. So busy that I can’t really remember what I did the past 10 days (oops, but if it was really that great, I would have remembered it.) So, here is a rundown of all of the memorable things that happened, both good and bad.

Last Sunday Jess, Madeline, Emmy, Brendan, Raju, and I all went to the Upright Citizen’s Brigade (UCB) Comedy theater in Chelsea and waited in line for 2.5-3 hours for free tickets to their 9:30 Asscat show. The show was well worth the wait, toting Zac Woods from The Office and a contributor from Jimmy Falon in the line up. They start the show by asking the audience to dish about their weekends. One guy saw two moms get into a fight at Amy’s Bread, one guy did ecstasy, another biked the whole way across the country for charitywater.com, and one teenage, yes teenage couple just finished having sex in a deli bathroom. The two comedians went on to ridicule the teens for not using a condom, for getting frisky in a dirty deli, and for coming on the floor. They even pulled them from the crowd and sat them down to scold them just as your mom would if she caught you in the act. At the end of their roast a bag of NYC Condoms was thrown at them and then they were made fun of for the rest of the improvisational show.

Tuesday we went to 1020 for trivia night with Mattie, her friend Chris, Emmy, Madeline, Brendan, and Jessica; our team was named “Meow or Never (drawing of a cat face.)” We won for funny team name and we placed 3rd out of about 15 or 20 teams! So we won a pack of Keibler cheese and peanut butter crackers and a pint glass from the pub.

Wednesday sometime at lunch or at the office at VH1 I managed to successfully lose my DroidPro smartphone. I was devastated and I feel like I combed over every desk, cubicle, and drawer I was in and around that day and could not find it. I figured if I lost it on the street, if it fell out of my back pocket it was gone, so I didn’t even bother to try to retrace my steps outside. If that was the case, a hobo picked it up and tried to sell it in Chinatown or on eBay. I never realized how dependent I was on my phone until I lost it; it was the end of the world. I had to call my mom to let her know it was missing and that I was okay. I had to call Kevin to explain why I wasn’t picking up his calls and that I don’t hate him. I had to find my way to the subway and home. I thought “I know how to get home from here so don’t stray from you’re path home, just go make yourself dinner and go cry yourself to sleep.” I thought I could Facebook my mom and Kevin to let them know the deal and then I reached for my phone that was not in my pocket. I thought I could email them and then I reached for my nonexistent phone. I then realized that I would have to wait to access the internet and the world until I got back home and to my computer. Also, when you lose your cell phone you lose your camera, Facebook, Twitter, Spotify, and most importantly, your alarm clock. Waking up in the morning sucked, as I jumped from bed an hour early thinking that I was late for work. Needless to say that after work on Thursday I went straight to the nearest Verizon store and was suckered into buying the newest Samsung Galaxy SIII. I love it, so I’d say it was a good investment (same price as the iPhone 4S, better software, lighter, and a bigger screen.) Also, I can read my Kindle books that I’ve already bought on it, score!

Thursday after getting my phone, I ran through the rain and to the subway to meet Jess, Madeline, Emmy, and Daniela for a secret burlesque/cirque themed Of Monsters and Men show in the Lower East Side. It was amazing the whole place was made to look like a carnival and there were contortionists, and sword swallowers, and photo booths, and our other friends from MTV. Mostly everyone there was in circus costumes, except for us so we wore circus animal masks for part of the night. The show was amazing. It was one of the best nights of my life; I literally felt like I had gone back in time and was a carney at the circus, and now I want to throw a circus party when I go home.

Friday, I went to work at VH1 and we had a goodbye party for Jason, our photographer who is leaving. After work I went to an admissions information meeting for the Columbia Journalism School. I really want to go there, I just don’t want to have to pay the hefty tuition. Also, Leslie and Khaula stopped by to visit! I haven’t seen Leslie since last year this time in Boston, and I haven’t seen Khaula since this time 2 years ago in England. It was a long needed reunion. We met up with Jess for an Olympic Opening Ceremonies party at the Eventi Hotel in Chelsea. It was amazing, they had international food, a ton of big screens and Christmas lighted outdoor seating. It was the perfect way to watch the ceremony. After that was over, we went to Times Square to be tourists and shop at Forever 21 at 1 am and then we went home.

Can we have a bonfire? Please?

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Over 7 weeks down and less than 3 to go. I do not want to leave. However, I do want to go home and have a bonfire complete with mountain pies, corn on the cob, and s’mores. I miss home. I miss the trees, and woods, and open fields, and bonfires. I also miss my family.

I have been so lazy this week. Monday I worked at the BBW and then went to a shoot for VH1 where I almost had to interview Chris Colfer from Glee because our reporter showed up 15 minutes late and we weren’t sure if she was going to make it. He wrote a children’s book and was doing press for it. After that I went to the Bryant Park Film Festival with Jess, Raju, Emmy, and Madeline to watch Roman Holiday with Audrey Hepburn. It was quite cute. But it is crazy how jam packed like sardines the park gets way before the movie even starts. We got there at 6:30 and struggled to find a place to sit. The movie didn’t start until 9!

Tuesday, I went to work at the BBW and then did a whole lot of grocery shopping at Trader Joe’s (hopefully my last big grocery trip) and then I cooked for the week and made some s’mores bites (marshmallows dipped in chocolate dipped in graham cracker crumbs).

Today I went to work at VH1 and just relaxed when I got home…It’s been quite the lazy week.

Goodbye, Siri & Kayla.

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This week was Siri and Kayla’s last week in NYC for their internships, it’s so crazy that they are already done and that they have left the city. No lie, things are a little more boing now without them. Thursday was a pretty lazy day. I went to work at VH1 and then met Emmy and Madeline at a shop in Soho called Necessary Clothing. Most of their pieces are chiffon or see through but have really nice cuts and I feel in love with a slouchy salmon colored blazer and a royal blue dress. The only downfall of the store was that I had to wait in a 35 minute line to try on my selections…I’m really glad I liked them, it kind of made the wait worth it. However, while I love shopping at home, I hate shopping in New York, the lines for the dressing rooms are so darn long and frustrating.

Friday was Siri’s last night with us and Kayla left that afternoon. After work at VH1, where I looked at a list of album releases and chose/pointed out the artists that I would like to see interviewed I went window shopping for a while on the Upper West Side and then I stopped to say goodbye to Kayla before she left to go to the airport for her flight home. That night we all went out to dinner with Siri at Deluxe and then we had a 2000s dance and Zumba party in her apartment. We all went out to The Heights and then went our separate ways. It was so nice to spend the night just talking, laughing and dancing with our friend. I am really going to miss that girl.

Saturday, I woke up sick and had to call off work at Bath & Body. I was lazy all day until that evening when Madeline, Gab, Emmy, Jess and I met up with David to go to the Celebrate Brooklyn Festival where we saw a heavy metal tribute band to the Bee Gees called “Tragedy” (yes, that really does exist, and yes, it was surprisingly good.) After the band Saturday Night Fever was screened under the stars in Prospect Park. It was a great night, except for the fact that we ended up on a train home that was being held for police investigation and we had to abandon it and search for another train station and a train that was going back to Manhattan. During this whole scene, we met a girl who was only a few years older than us who just graduated from Columbia’s Journalism school and now works for CNN Money. Talk about impressive. I want to be like her when I graduate, and land my (almost) dream job that quickly. The night ended with some early morning banana pudding from Magnolia Bakery (gosh, I love that stuff.)

Today, I woke up early and went to work at the BBW. After my shift, I met up with Emmy and Madeline for lunch at Broadway Bagel. It was excellent as always. We went home and I began to feel sick again (probably the same thing I had yesterday) and so I just slept all day. I feel like a waste. However, I have gotten a few things done with my video blog, as it comes to writing and editing. Enjoy a very belated clip of Kevin screaming like a girl as he and Katie ride the sling shot rid at Coney Island on the 4th of July.

“Want a tattoo? It’s for free!”

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Yesterday, after work at VH1 I met up with Jessica, John, and Gab and we went to Hoboken, NJ via the PATH train from Manhattan. After getting lost on the PATH system we eventually found Hoboken and Carlo’s Bake Shop (which was unfortunately closed, I was so devestated about that.) Sad that we couldn’t get sweets from the Cake Boss or from the Cake Baby, we found some Cluck U chicken and sat down at the park at the pier for a movie under the stars! The view of Manhattan from Hoboken is gorgeous, if I ever get a job in NYC, I am living in Hoboken. The people are nice, the streets, are clean, and things are cheaper. Anyway, back to the movie. If you have not figured out which movie we saw yet, then you are a disgrace to popculture and I “would like to invite you to no longer live with us” and no longer read this blog. If you are cultured you know I am referencing Bridesmaids, if you are failing at life and do not know that this blog has at least 3 Bridesmaids refernces in it’s first 200 words then you need to go see the movie, now. That is all.

Making the Big Bucks!

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It’s only been 4 days since my last blog (that’s a new, timely record!)

Saturday, I worked to make the big bucks (aka to pay for my metro card) at BBW and then met up with Gab to get our first Crumbs cupcakes (which were soooo good) afterwards and we went to Battery Park and saw the Statue of Liberty from across the bay. We randomly decided to hop a ferry to Governor’s Island and got stuck in a crowd of seriously tripping or drunk Alesso fans who were there for his concert on the Island that night. After that we hopped the last ferry across to Brooklyn. We found this awesome park of Pier 6 and the six-year-old girl inside of me was in childhood heaven. I wish we would have had a playground like this back home when I was little. After the park we explored Brooklyn Heights until dark and then ended up back at home later.

Sunday I was back to making the big bucks. After work I met up with Emmy and Gab for some fro-yo at our favorite spot, 16 Handles. We went to China Town on a hunt for whole bud rose tea, which we did end up finding. I also ended up finding a really nice Claddagh ring and haggled the saleslady from $20 to $10, SCORE!!! We went out with the girls that night as well. Siri is trying to make the most of her last week in NYC with us, so we’ve been hanging with her a lot the past few days.

Monday I went to work again at the BBW, surprise, surprise. After work I did a whole lot of nothing. I went grocery shopping at Trader Joe’s for the first time and fell in love with the prices and with the food. I went home and ate and napped. After Emmy and Madeline got home we all went to Central Park to enjoy the sunset from a big rock that overlooks the iceskating rink that is currently a children’s theme park for summer. On our way home we met up with Jessica, Siri, Emily, Julia, Kayla, and Daniella for a girls night at Deluxe.

Today, Tuesday I went and made the big bucks. After work I went to Trader Joe’s again for milk and got some highly recommended Cookie Butter (it’s like peanut butter but gingerbread cookie flavored.) It was so good. I also made strawberry shortcake with biscuits I made with Trader Joe’s multigrain baking mix (also so good.) I have decided that when I move out of my parent’s house after I graduate college one of the key factors I will consider when looking at houses will be how close they are to a Trader Joe’s. I want to live by one so badly. I talked to Kevin, and then napped. My dad called me to see how I was doing and if I was still resisting the peer pressure from everyone offering me hardcore drugs (may I add I have Never been offered drugs in my life, and not in New York either.) I went out with Emmy, Siri and Eric for Trivia Night at 1020 and we didn’t do too shabby, tying for 5th place out of about 17 teams!

A Visitor.

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So much for me writing more often… Another week has passed since my last post and it was quite an eventful one, at that.

Friday I worked at VH1 and didn’t do a whole lot until I was getting ready to leave and then heard the breaking news, Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes were getting a divorce! I started reminiscing about the clip of Tom Cruise jumping on Oprah’s couch about how much he loved Katie Holmes, how ironic. My producer asked me to look through our old red carpet tapes to see if I could find Tom or Katie talking about their relationship at all. Sure enough, I found just what I needed, an old red carpet tape from the War of the Worlds premiere. I scanned the transcription and found Tom talking about how much he loves Katie, about his proposal on top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris and about his over the couch Oprah appearance. Bingo! I pulled the tape and cued up the clip it was golden! My producer was thrilled and then I got to go home early. A boring  day turned into quite the exciting and productive afternoon! After work I met up with Gab and two interns from MTV World/MTV Iggy and we ate lunch at Peanut Butter & Co.  I am slowly falling in love with their slightly overpriced lunch box specials, it’s a guilty pleasure (plus I’m 4 stamps away from a free jar of peanut butter on my stamp card!) After that Gab and I met Madeline for the free hours at the Museum of Modern Art. At the MoMA I saw some cool artwork including Andy Warhol’s Double Elvis, Golden Marilyn, and my personal favorite, the pink and green cow wallpaper. VanGoh’s Starry Night was also there, along with some Picaso, but I was in it for the Warhol. After we had our fill of the overcrowded museum, Gab and I met one of the MTV World/MTV Iggy interns and one of his friends for a trip to the Highline Park and the Chelsea Market. It was so cool. The Highline is this abandoned/out of service above ground subway line that was converted into a boardwalk/park above the city, it is so cool.

Saturday, I worked at Bath & Body Works all day and then hung out with my suite mates the rest of the day. We did something fun, but I honestly just can’t remember right now.

Sunday, Kevin flew in to visit me! I went to pick him up at the airport and then we went back to my apartment. After he got all settled in we went for sushi nearby at Suma Sushi (so good, and cheap) and then hit up Times Square, because as much as that place annoys me, I think everyone should visit it at least once in their life and this was Kev’s first time in NYC. We hit up 30 Rock and walked around the area for a while before heading to Junior’s for some real New York cheesecake. The slice was gigantic for $6 and was plenty more than what 2 hungry people could eat. We went for the Devil’s Food flavor, it was like cheesecake heaven. After the cheesecake we hit up 5th Ave and took a stroll by Central Park and the Plaza Hotel.

Monday, Kev and I went to Deluxe for breakfast where we had the world’s best stuffed french toast and blueberry pancakes. We then hit up Chinatown, SoHo, NoHo, NYU and Little Italy where we ate some gelato from Ferrara’s. That night we decided to go to the Top of the Rock. It was breathtaking. We also got lucky and some guy standing outside happened to be scared to death of heights and had a ticket he wasn’t going to use, so we got to go up for half price! Also, Kevin, knowing everyone everywhere, ended up running into someone he knew from home while we were on the top of the Rock, go figure.

Kev and I at the Top of the Rock with the Empire State Building behind us.

Tuesday was a lazy day, we got crepes using my Groupon from Vive La Crepe, those were also amazing. He got apple cinnamon and I got nutella. I also got a peanut butter, banana, and almond crepe to go for lunch at work on Thursday. All of it came to a grand total of $30 but I got it all for $10 with my Groupon, Yay! After that, we just went back home and did a whole lot of nothing. That night we went and got a cupcake and some famous banana pudding from Magnolia Bakery. Yes, we ate a whole heck of a lot while he was here, there’s not much else we could do. 

Wednesday was the 4th of July and we went to Coney Island for the Annual Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest with Madeline, Jessica, Katie, Mandy (Jess’s roommate,) and Brendan. It was insanely crowded and the hot dog eating competition was probably the most disgustingly great thing I’ve seen in my life to date. Kevin loved every minute of it. After the contest we went to Luna Park and Kev and Katie rode this crazy slingshot ride.After being on the slingshot Kev and I got deep fried Oreos and Nathan’s Hot Dogs to eat for dinner. We met a lovely banker lady named Susha who talked to us for well over 30 while we gorged ourselves on the fried foods. She offered us sunscreen as we were both frying in the sun. She also talked to us about skiing (a common interest we all had) and about her recent move from San Francisco to Manhattan. She was extremely nice, probably because she’s not a true New Yorker. We then went to a little flea market/vendor fair and Kev bought himself a few little things he’d been needing (a man bag, pseudo glasses, and ice cold water.) Personally I think the pseudo glasses are a bit ridiculous, but he insists that he looks good in them (and he is right.) I just hate the idea of them, why wear glasses if you don’t actually need them? (I hate my own real glasses. We then went back home before meeting Gab to watch the Macy’s Fireworks from 30th Street and 11th Avenue. The view was rather good for being right next to an Exxon gas station. On the way back to the subway, Gab’s sandal broke so she borrowed Kev’s socks off his feet and walked through Manhattan in my boyfriend’s socks. We also stopped and ate pizza, dine-in at a restaurant while she was just wearing the dirty socks on her feet. We later stopped at Forever 21 and she got a pair of heels to put on her feet.

When we got back to my building, it was evacuated because of a fire drill… The next morning we were supposed to wake up early to send Kev home from the airport and were surprised to see his AM flight was actually a PM flight, so we got an extra day to hang out, except I was supposed to work.

Thursday, VH1 was kind enough to let me work a half day, transcribe interviews from the Amazing Spiderman premiere, and then go see Kevin off before his flight. After getting lost in the Village, Kev and I found Artichoke’s Pizza and indulged in our last NYC meal together. We went home, got his stuff and took the bus together to the airport. Parting is such sweet sorrow. I hated to see him go.

Waking up this morning and not having him near me was a shocker. I had gotten so accustomed to having him nearby during the past week. I went to work at VH1 today and transcribed some red carpet interviews from the BET Awards. I got off early and went home to relax. It has been such an exhausting week. After Emmy, Siri, and Emily got back from work we all went to happy hour at 1020 and had some serious “girl bonding” time and talks. It was so much fun and so relaxing to just chill out with the girls for a change. After that we went to Chipotle and then ate our taco salads on the steps of the Alma Mater. It was quite the successful low-key evening.