By Eugenia Finizio
As an aspiring journalist, there are many sounds you learn to love. A few of my favorites are the smack of an early morning newspaper hitting the driveway, the click of keys on a laptop, the opening theme song to your favorite newscast, and the snap of a camera.
The sound of my alarm clock blaring incessantly at 3:30 AM is most definitely not one of these sounds. Waking up on a Sunday morning when most college students are still awake from the Saturday night before never feels natural. It gives you that dizzy feeling, an eternal pit in the bottom of your stomach. You can feel your body telling you that it doesn’t want to be up yet.
When I received an internship at NBC’s “Meet the Press” for the 2011 fall semester, I knew that my Sunday mornings would start early. What I didn’t know is how much I would learn in those early morning hours.
From my first Sunday, which taught me that nothing stops the news, not even Hurricane Irene, to my last Sunday, where I met the journalism legend Tom Brokaw, I never stopped experiencing new things at “Meet the Press”. I watched a four hour 9/11 special come together in three days, I learned how to find four seconds of tape in a library filled with hundreds of thousands of tapes, and I figured out what it means to constantly know what is going on in the world. I met interesting and famous people every week, everyone from politicians like Michelle Bachman, Jon Huntsman, John Kerry, and Bill Clinton to news greats like Ted Koppel, to interesting characters like Ken Burns and Anna Valentino. A classroom can teach you almost everything you need to know, but being thrown into the real world of news is an unmatched learning opportunity.
Interning at “Meet the Press” opened my eyes to a part of television news that I had never fully understood. It’s the longest running series in American television, and to witness the weekly process of the show first hand taught me more about journalism than any book or paper ever could.
I discovered that although people increasingly want their news quick and condensed, there are still millions of people who tune in every Sunday to watch David Gregory ask questions to the leaders of our country. I figured out that although the 24-hour news cycle is great, there is a difference between reading something on Twitter and hearing someone say it in a live interview.
Not many students have the chance to spend every Sunday of a fall semester in the presence of such powerful guests and respected journalists, and for that opportunity I am grateful. I came to learn that the sickly feeling that comes along with a sleepless night is also a feeling of success. Waking up that early never got any easier, but rather it just became more bearable. I began to associate the alarm clock with a chance to walk into a building that never ceased to inspire me, and be a part of a show that never stopped teaching me. About the news business, about the way it runs, about how to make it to the top, and about why it all matters.