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Fall 2008 - TV Intern

Destination Purdue > Fall 2008 - TV Intern

TV news intern tuned in to experience

By Hannah Brescher

When Abby Lillpop watches the 6 o'clock news, she sometimes glimpses a hand in the corner of the picture and gets excited. That's her hand.

TV Intern Abby Lillpop

Photo provided by Abby Lillpop

Abby Lillpop works on one of her projects at WISH-TV 8 in Indianapolis. The senior agricultural communication major from West Point, Ind., had a semesterlong internship at the station.

Lillpop, a senior agricultural communication major from West Point, Ind., took a semester off as a full-time student to complete a 16-week internship with WISH-TV, the CBS affiliate in Indianapolis. Some of her tasks include traveling with reporters to interview sources for stories, writing scripts for the newscasts and even asking state officials questions at press conferences.

"Every so often, I'm watching a press conference on TV, and I'm like, 'Hey wait, that's my glove!'" exclaimed Lillpop. "I get real excited when I see the ring I wore that day."

This just in . . . senior offers her tips
By Hannah Brescher

Abby Lillpop, a senior agricultural communication major from West Point, Ind., was a news intern with WISH-TV in Indianapolis. She offers the following tips for anyone interested in landing an internship:

  • "You have to put yourself on the line, get involved and see where it takes you."
  • "Meet new people."
  • "Ask questions any chance you get. The worst thing anybody can ever tell you is 'no,' and that’s not going to make or break you."
  • "If there's something you even have a little interest in, try it. You may find out you hate it, or you may find out it's what you want to do with your life."

Find out more at:

Purdue Agricultural Communication
Purdue Youth Development and Agricultural Education
Purdue GO in AG

Each day in the newsroom is different, Lillpop said. After the reporters, camera operators, producers, anchors and news directors decide what news stories to pursue, Lillpop gets to choose the stories she wants to work on that day. Some of those stories involve happy endings and are exciting to work on. But others, like those that involve crime or tragedy, can take their toll, Lillpop said. "They do kind of affect you personally, but you know that tomorrow is going to be something different," she said. "It really makes you just appreciate when you come home."

The work has its rewards, too. One of Lillpop's most memorable experiences was going out alone with a camera man hoping to get one story, but came back with two. "Both my stories ended up on that evening's newscast," said Lillpop. "My supervisor gave me a pat on the back, and it was nice to have that feeling of, 'Wow, I can actually do this.' I had accomplished something that people really took notice of."

Lillpop will graduate in December, which will be her fifth year at Purdue. The internship may have set her graduation date back one semester, but she wanted it that way. “"It's a big perk for me to be a full-time intern because, unlike the other interns, I get completely submerged in the whole aspect of broadcasting," said Lillpop. "It may slow down on Wednesday or Thursday, but then something huge may happen on F riday and I am right there for it."

"Abby is great to work with," said Marcus Collins, a WISH-TV photojournalist who works with Abby on a daily basis. "It's odd, because she came in with a confidence you don't usually get from interns. She reported on her first day with a ready-to-learn and willing-to-share attitude."

Although she works on the news nine hours a day, Lillpop still feels compelled to come home, flip on her TV and watch . . . the news. "I try to stay on top of it in case anything has happened in between the time I left and the time I get back the next morning," said Lillpop. "I'll also check the stations other than CBS and see what stories they are running."

Lillpop said her overall perception of the news has not changed, but she now watches and notices the small details. "I want to see how shots are framed, how the words and pictures flow together," she said. "I watch and think of the questions I would have wanted to ask or things that I think are missing."

Lillpop describes her internship experience as a huge stepping-stone that will launch her into her career after graduation. WISH is helping her create a resume tape. Each time Lillpop goes out on a story, she takes a turn in front of the camera to vocalize the news and creates a clip to put onto the tape. Although these clips probably won't air on television, they are beneficial because they will comprise her resume tape, which is one of the most important tools for getting into a broadcasting career.

"A resume alone looks great, but stations won't hire a reporter without experience," she said. "A resume tape is the only way of showing the best work that you have done and the best way to sell yourself."

"I think she’s going to be a great reporter," said Collins. "I see it in her eyes. She wants to be a part of the 'big story,' and I'm sure she's going to be one of our best storytellers out there." For now, Lillpop's glove may be the only part of her you see on the 6 o'clock news, but stay tuned, because one day it may be her face you see smiling on TV.