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Intern Insider: Circle gains industry knowledge 'Today' and every day

When a member of the pope's choir begins shouting, "The priest is gone, we need the priest," in broken English peppered with a thick Italian accent in the middle of Rockefeller Plaza, and it sort of sounds like, "The police is gone, we need the police," it can create quite a commotion. And it can cause some anxious moments for Elon University rising junior Lexi Circle, a strategic communications major.

Junior Lexi Circle is learning to work in a hectic environment during her internship with NBC's "The Today Show."

Circle is interning at NBC’s “The Today Show,” and she and another intern were tasked that day with transporting 40 members of the pope’s choir from one part of 30 Rock to another—a seemingly menial task made more taxing because of the busyness of the building and surrounding area.

“We managed to weave them through crowds of tours and chaotic hallways before realizing that the main priest had gone missing,” Circle says. “One of the choir members began frantically running around Rockefeller Plaza.”

It ended well, of course, as Circle found the priest casually wandering around the studio for “Saturday Night Live.” It was, though, another example of the “hectic atmosphere” in which Circe works, she says.

As an intern with “Today,” Circle is responsible for managing the front desk, logging and transcribing video footage, dubbing, assisting at concerts, managing talent, attending morning meetings and lending a hand in the control room. She enjoys the variety of tasks and the pressure of the job.

“Perfection is now only a desire but truly a necessity in order for the on-air segments to run smoothly,” Circle says. “I enjoy working under pressure and, luckily, I have an ability to stay calm in situations of utter pandemonium.”

Her quotidian tasks are ever changing. One morning, she may have to make a Starbucks run. On another morning … well, she may have to shepherd the pope’s choir to and fro. But Circle says she approaches every assignment with enthusiasm and intensity of purpose.

“If you’ve ever been an intern before, you know that sometimes our tasks aren’t so glamorous,” she says. “In my experience so far, it’s the thorough completion of these tasks that have led me to be responsible for larger ones, and the coffee runs do eventually seem worth it in the end.”

So far, she says, her work has been well received. She’s gotten positive feedback on a number of assignments, and she says her bosses seem to value her presence. She credits courses she’s taken at Elon and in the School of Communications for helping her prepare for the real-time demands of a professional internship.

“Elon has taught me the value of arriving early, saying late and remaining professional,” she says.

Circle landed her “Today” internship during the spring semester. Before learning of her acceptance, she completed three interviews and an online application. Circle got the final call from a production manager at “Today,” who’s now her boss. Circle says she was in a state of disbelief, so she “may or may not” have asked the woman to repeat herself three times.

Circle did come to accept that she had secured such an impressive internship, and she says now, through the first few weeks of her internship, she’s figuring out what she enjoys doing (“entertaining large crowds of people”) and what she may want to avoid in the future. She’s continuing to gain knowledge so that she can make informed decisions about her next internship and, ultimately, her first job.

“My goal—and what I imagine to be the goal of any intern—is to figure out where I can see myself in five, 10, 20 years from now,” Circle says. “I know for sure what I don’t want to do by testing the waters in all aspects of this industry. I am also getting a sense of the qualities I will be seeking out in my future job.”

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.

Colin Donohue,
6/17/2011 2:15 PM