This summer, WNCW staff had the pleasure of working with Jessica Porter as a summer intern. She wrote about her experience; this is her story.
I learned in my first year at the University of North Carolina that there are three general things college students are deprived of: parental guidance, interest in the news, and transportation. Inherently, I have had the first two of those things my entire life, which led me to apply to intern at WNCW, and the latter is fulfilled by a soccer-mom Honda named Sylvia.
On my first drive to Spindale, I listened to Steve Inskeep on Morning Edition while drinking coffee, a ritual I picked up in college. I have always been an avid listener of National Public Radio my entire life – there is no doubt in my mind that my parents played it on the way home from the hospital. I ‘fan-girl’ over the news like teenage girls with One Direction. In fact, I have gone to see Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me live, Ira Glass speak, and Paula Poundstone’s comedy shows. That being said, I realized on that drive that I had painted a picture of what NPR looked like, but I did not even have a rough sketch of what a small, local station like WNCW.
After the first week of interning, I had an outline of what I believed the station to be. I started tuning in to 88.7 FM on my commute and then during the workday to fill in the lines. I became accustomed to Paul’s local news along with Mr. Inskeep. I grew to love the DJ’s funky music that they are so incredibly passionate about. I had revelations about the work that goes into underwriting, marketing, and the station as a whole. WNCW is a huge team with many integral individuals, and I felt so lucky to be a part of it.
When all of those people came together over the next couple of weeks, I realized that the station was not just a painting - it was a complex mural, and my internship was incorporated into it. Upon my arrival at the station, everyone was extremely welcoming in their manner and the opportunities they provided. I received responsibilities that most college freshman only dream of, from graphic design work to writing and recording my own news pieces to volunteering at awesome music festivals. Don’t get me wrong; I still did some menial tasks like shredding (with a shredder that I swear is older than me), filing (I think I have memorized some of our underwriters’ addresses), and organizing CD’s (sorry, Martin).
As my internship comes to a close, it is really hard to summarize everything I did. I wish I could pull a John Bender and write some all-encompassing summary about my experience, but I simply cannot. I can say is that I am so glad I was able to spend time at a station that cares about its audience and product. WNCW has an infectious spirit that is both personal and homegrown - and all of that made my work meaningful. Cue the fist pump.