Intern Insider: Hoping Behind-the-Camera Education Leads to On-Camera Career
Mike Feldman wants to be the next Mel Kiper Jr. Feldman already studies the NFL draft and the college football players likely to be selected by professional teams every year. He already has experience on and behind the camera. And he already has a love of sports broadcasting. Seems like the only thing he's missing is a replication of Kiper's patented black, slicked back pompadour. But, hey, there's still time for that.
Feldman is just a junior broadcast and new media major, interning for the New England Sports Network in Boston this summer. He specifically works on the Boston Red Sox pregame and postgame shows, which means he looks up statistics, gathers video clips, sets up the stage and runs grip for the cameras.
But on his first day, Feldman was given the ho-hum task of making the trip to Pawtucket, R.I., to interview Red Sox pitcher and potential Hall of Famer John Smoltz, who was completing his rehabilitation work.
“They needed someone to go and hold the microphone,” Feldman says. “Since I was tall, I went down there and did that.”
Interviewing elite athletes and being an on-camera personality is a dream of Feldman’s (hence the Mel Kiper Jr. aspiration). But right now, he’s soaking up all the experience he can get in the broadcast world.
“Ultimately, I would love to be on-air talent on a show, and I know it’s really difficult,” he says. “So what I’m trying to do now is make myself more marketable. I’m willing to be part of the production staff and willing to edit. But if the opportunity strikes, I definitely want to be talent.”
So working for NESN is a natural move for the native Bostonian, who interned at Boston radio station WEEI last summer. In fact, the connections he made at WEEI led to his NESN internship.
“(NESN doesn’t) typically take rising juniors but because I came over recommended (by WEEI), he thought I had a good shot (at the internship),” Feldman says.
Successfully networking, Feldman says, is always one of his goals as an intern because he says he’s always considering his future.
“My first goal obviously is to learn,” he says. “That’s why I do anything. So I can pick up a new trade. What I’m doing now is what I want to do later in life. The second goal is to make contacts, and that worked really well at WEEI because they set me up with NESN. Whenever there’s an opportunity to meet someone, I take advantage of it so I can use them as a reference and use them to get a job somewhere else.”
Of course, maybe NESN was so willing to take a chance on Feldman because they knew about his work ethic. Feldman says when he experiences any down time on the job, he always asks what else he can do. And that desire to do more, he says, is getting him recognized.
“I feel like being an intern, there’s not a lot of responsibility given out in most cases, so I think the best compliment I received is, unlike most of the interns, I don’t wait around for an assignment,” he says. “I had nothing to do one day, so I learned how to shade all the cameras in the studio. That’s a compliment I got: I don’t just sit around. I actually want to learn.”
Feldman interviewed for the NESN internship during spring break, and a week later he was told he had secured the spot. And even though Feldman was given the strong impression during the interview that he would be selected, he still celebrated à la Tiger Woods.
“I gave a fist pump and high five to a friend,” he says. (He also called his mother.)
But, Feldman admits, without his experience working on Elon Phoenix Weekly and One on One Sports at Elon, he wouldn’t be as prepared for his internship. He says he looks forward to bringing his newfound skills back to campus with him in the fall.
“I would say working for the TV shows at Elon really helped me because it’s helped me understand the aspects that go into a show,” Feldman says. “Knowing what the roles are, knowing what it’s like to be talent, working at every position on the TV show has helped me understand every person’s role.”
Intern Insider will run one to two times a week during the summer and will feature brief stories about some of the interns from the School of Communications or in School of Communications programs.