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Intern Insider: CBS Helps Barber Find His Niche

Tim Barber works Monday through Friday every week during the summer. Sometimes he may come in at 7 a.m., sometimes at 9. But no matter the arrival time, it’s always Monday through Friday—a typical work week.

Tim Barber doesn't mind working weekends for his internship with the CBS Early Show.
On Saturday, June 14, though, Barber dragged himself out ofbed to view an interview with Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning andhis younger brother, New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning.

Working on weekends is not a requirement of Barber’sinternship with the CBS Early Show, but Barber didn’t mind. Maybe it’s because hewas able to meet the Manning brothers, both Super Bowl winners. But morelikely, it’s because, as Barber says, his internship is too exciting to squeezeinto just five days a week.

“I didn’t have to be there for (the Saturday interview),” hesays, “but I wanted to because it’s so much fun. It’s a job you just getexcited to get up and do.”

Barber is a rising junior studying broadcast communications,who only declared his major a year ago. Even then, he didn’t involve himself inPhoenix14News until Winter Term. So how did this neophyte broadcaster, who nowwalks the same CBS halls as Katie Couric, Andy Rooney and Mike Wallace landsuch a primo internship?

Nothing out of the ordinary. Barber simply researcheddifferent news networks and then littered the country with his resume monthsbefore application materials were actually due.

“I sent as much stuff in as quickly as I could,” he says. “Idon’t know if it helps to send it in first, but it doesn’t hurt.”

He applied to Fox News, CNN, all the networks. CBS was theonly news organization that contacted him. He did two phone interviews beforebeing accepted.

As an intern, Barber started by getting tapes and runningerrands for producers. But he was constantly in his producers’ ears, askingthem to give him more responsibility. Eventually, they tasked him withoriginating story ideas for the Early Show.

Barber has since presented them with three ideas, two ofwhich have been accepted. One suggestion, aired during the Early Show’s “BiggerFaster Stronger” week, involved asking the fastest pizza maker to feed one ofthe world’s fastest eaters. His second pitch was about a family fromBurlington, Iowa, whose restaurant was destroyed by floods in the Midwest twice—earlierthis month and 15 years ago.

He says his work has been well received.

“One (producer) was wondering what year I was,” he says.“She was disappointed (Barber was only a junior) because she said she wanted tohire me.”

While Barber didn’t have a wealth of experience heading intothis internship, he did say that the classes he’s taken in the School ofCommunications and the practical experience he’s gained from working withPhoenix14 News helped prepare him for his internship.

“I haven’t taken too many classes, but all of them havehelped mentally,” he says, “But even more so, if I didn’t join Phoenix14, Iwouldn’t have known anything, and I wouldn’t have been able to do the things Iwanted to do or been comfortable doing them.”

And, he says, his summer internship will hasten his learningcurve, which will enable him to produce quality packages for Phoenix14 in theshort term and gain a toehold in the industry in the future.

“I learn something every day,” Barber says. “I think it willpretty much give me a little more confidence, a little more enthusiasm. I havethe enthusiasm that I’m actually going to like this career. I finally figuredout that this is what I want to do.”

Intern Insider will run one to two times aweek during the summer and will feature brief stories about some of theinterns from the School of Communications.

Colin Donohue,
7/14/2008 11:33 AM