Two internships to compare

erstellt am: 19.07.2011 | von: Alexander Winkler | Kategorie(n): Blog, English

Two countries, two broadcasters, two internships – one intern: me. Two work experiences that could probably not be more different. Nonetheless, the comparison of the two opens room for conclusion. Both internships were mandatory for my studies. SWR3.online vs Radio New Zealand News.

For my two week work experience at Radio New Zealand in Wellington, I was required to write down my expectations beforehand. When doing an evaluation afterwards, it became obvious to me, that basically all these wishes had come true:

  • voice training
  • visiting Parliament
  • covering different angles on the same stories & improving my intro writing
  • watching the morning report being produced
  • visiting the courts
  • getting an insight into the web department
  • having own pieces on air

However, I am surprised how little I was able, wanted or required to do. I would guess that on average, about a third of the day I was doing nothing that was related to the actual internship.

Obviously, we had two rather quiet weeks. Even staff reporters seemed idle every once in a while. But I was really surprised when I was told how lucky we could feel for how much they had us do because so many people were sick. Apparently, students on work experience get even less to do. This makes me wonder whether RNZ News might be a little overstaffed.

But I am not the person to make assumptions as I cannot compare the situation to more newsheavy weeks.

Another eyeopener was my visit to the online department. I was mostly interested in RNZ’s online strategy, the use of social media or simply the reporter’s web awareness. The short version of the answers that I got is they have none.

Reporters don’t take cameras when they go out to cover stories. The design of the homepage, and search engine optimisation are based on best practice, a target group is not even defined. The use of social media is limited to Twitter. And it was only when I asked why it had had been taken offline about 6 weeks ago, that they noticed that the Twitter stream @rnz_news was down.

This is just an observation. For purely best practice work by a team of seven people, the site is incredible. And it fulfills its purpose very well. And the Twitter feed was back up and running within two hours. This is incredible.

Nonetheless, I would expect more from a governmentally funded broadcaster who wants to reach the whole population. Maybe now would be the time to invest into new media. But I decided to have a look into the different concepts of public broadcasting in New Zealand and Germany in a blog soon.

My internship at German broadcaster SWR3.online was almost exactly two years ago. Unfortunately due to the latest version of Interstate Treaty on Broadcasting (based on the 12th Amendment to the Interstate Broadcasting Treaties) the content that I produced in the three months working there are not available online anymore. But my time was filled with online and technology journalism, video production, social media broadcasting and online enrichment of on air content. Even though I never presented my own stories on air.

Comparing these two experiences, I come to the conclusion that both were similarly valuable. Radio New Zealand taught me a lot about the professional use of spoken, possibly colloquial English in radio production. Pronunciation, intonation, speed. I know more about the style of news and how to keep content updated for each news bulletin of the day.

But in the long run, I would wish to find a job that enhances stories online. Radio is very much bound by the listener’s attention span and the web offers the opportunity to bring news more to live for whoever is interested. People interact and discuss on the news and how they are presented. You can present background information that can outline processes that date years back.


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