Washington rose to prominence during a recent summer internship with NBC Universal.
Last summer, journalism major Naomi Washington ’24 interned for mass media giant NBCUniversal. This invaluable opportunity connected Washington with many professionals in the journalism industry and gave Washington a much better idea of what his career path after Elon might look like.
As she currently embraces her study abroad semester in London, she took the time to answer a few questions regarding her experience with NBCUniversal.
Why did you want to intern at NBCUniversal?
I was like any other student in the spring of 2022. I was trying to keep up my grades, stay involved in my extracurricular activities, and manage the stress of finding a summer internship. I felt really behind in the number of applications I submitted in January, but I was really optimistic and determined to get a good internship. I applied for the NBC Summer Fellowship on a whim. I didn’t think I had a real chance of getting it, but I applied anyway because I had the credentials and the experience. About a week later, they contacted me for an interview.
Six weeks after my interview, I received the call that I was offered the scholarship. It was one of the best days of my life. Looking back, I wish I had more confidence in myself. Elon is an amazing school, and I was more than prepared to accept this internship. I wanted to work at NBC News from the moment I decided I wanted to be a reporter in my freshman year of high school. In my eyes, it’s the best network news agency in the country. Becoming a summer intern was the first step towards realizing my dream of working there.
What were your daily roles as an intern?
My daily routine at NBC News varied depending on whether there was breaking news and what our workforce looked like. I worked on NBC News NOW Live with Morgan Radford and Vicky Nguyen, which aired from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. My working day was from 5 a.m. to 1 p.m., Monday to Friday. It took some getting used to and once I did I loved it. I lived in Brooklyn this summer, so every morning I took the subway north to midtown Manhattan. I started my commute at 6:30 a.m. to be there in time for the daily editorial meeting which started at 7:30 a.m.
Once the meeting was over, the other production assistants and I started cutting video assets for the show. Then it was my job to print scripts for the presenters in the studio. It was almost always my favorite part of the day because I got to be with Morgan and Vicky, who are the sweetest people ever, and sometimes I got to meet other NBC News correspondents too. . After the show ended at 1 p.m., it was time to go home. I really liked this schedule because I always explored the city in the afternoon.
What challenges did you encounter working for such a big company like NBC?
The biggest challenge of working at a place like NBC is adjusting to not being the only “really creative” or “really talented” person in the room. Everyone around you is a distinguished person in some way, so you need to know how to stand out. I also think a hard lesson I had to learn was that I still had a lot to prove. The workload I received from my team was very slow at first. I realized I had to step up and show them my skills. Once they saw me in action and heard my good ideas, they gave me greater responsibilities.
How would you describe your workplace culture?
NBCUniversal is huge on diversity and inclusiveness. I can proudly say that NBC takes this responsibility very seriously and fosters a safe environment for people of all backgrounds. It can be stressful starting a new job as a black woman in a predominantly white space because I never know how people will receive my presence. I felt more than welcome and valued. My team at News NOW in particular has become my family. They want to see me succeed and I want to see them all succeed too. Successful newsrooms are healthy newsrooms.
What impact has this internship had on your professional career?
This summer internship, full of unforgettable experiences, made me discover parts of the industry that I did not know before. I have a better idea of what I want to do after graduation.
What advice do you have for potential students looking to intern for NBCUniversal?
My advice to all students looking to intern for NBCUniversal is to be patient and be yourself. Be patient as it will take time for them to get back to you with a decision about your internship. I remember being very anxious and not knowing if all the time after my interview was a good or a bad sign. In any case, everything will be fine! Also, keep in mind that NBC receives thousands of applications each semester. Don’t change who you are and what you’re passionate about during your application/interview process or when you start working on it. NBCUniversal will embrace you and all of your uniqueness. Focus on being coachable and eager to learn, because you will learn so much!
Opportunities at NBCUniversal are highly competitive and receive thousands of applications. One coveted opportunity is the NBC News Associate program, which is a one-year paid training opportunity that turns graduate journalists into network news producers. In addition, they offer a number of production and operation internships. It is important to note that these are designed to train network news producers, rather than talented on-air hosts.