Washington made herself stand out 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 within the journalism industry and gave Washington a much better sense of what her career path could look like post-Elon.
While she is currently embracing 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 for NBCUniversal?
I was just like any other student during the spring of 2022. I was trying to hold my grades together, stay involved in my extracurricular activities and navigate the stress of looking for a summer internship. I felt really behind in how many applications I submitted in January but I was really optimistic and driven to get a good internship. I applied for the NBC summer fellowship on a whim. I did not think I had an actual shot at getting it at all but I applied anyway because I had the credentials and experience. About a week later, they reached out to me for an interview.
Six weeks after my interview, I got the call that I was being offered the fellowship. That was one of the best days of my life. In hindsight, I wish I had more faith in myself. Elon is an incredible school, and I was more than prepared to take on this internship. I wanted to work at NBC News since the moment I decided I wanted to be a journalist in my junior year of high school. In my eyes, it is the best of all the network news organizations in the country. Becoming a summer intern was the first step to achieving my dream of working there.
What were your day-to-day roles as an intern?
My daily routine at NBC News varied based on whether there was breaking news and what our staff numbers looked like. I worked on NBC News NOW Live with Morgan Radford and Vicky Nguyen, which streamed from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. My workday was from 5 a.m. to 1 p.m. — Monday through Friday. This schedule took getting used to and once I did, I loved it. I lived in Brooklyn this summer so each morning I rode the subway north into midtown Manhattan. I started my commute at 6:30 a.m. to be there in time for the daily editorial meeting that started at 7:30 a.m.
After the meeting concluded, the other production assistants and I got started on cutting video elements for the show. Then, it was my job to print scripts for the anchors in the studio. This 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 also got to meet other NBC News correspondents. After the show wrapped up at 1 p.m., it was time to go home. I really liked this schedule because I always explored the city in the afternoons.
What difficulties did you face working for such a large company like NBC?
The biggest difficulty of working somewhere 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 have to know how to make yourself stand out. I think also a hard lesson I had to learn was that I still had a lot to prove. The workload I got from my team was very slow in the beginning. I realized I needed to step up and show them my skill set. Once they saw me in action and heard my cool ideas, they trusted me with bigger responsibilities.
How would you describe the culture of your workplace?
NBCUniversal is huge on diversity and inclusivity. I can proudly say NBC takes that 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 became my family. They want to see me succeed and I want to see all of them succeed too. Successful newsrooms are healthy newsrooms.
How has this internship impacted your career path?
This summer internship, full of unforgettable experiences, showed me parts of the industry that I didn’t know about before. I have a better idea of what I want to do post-graduation.
What advice do you have for prospective students looking to intern for NBCUniversal?
My advice to any students looking to intern for NBCUniversal is to be patient and be yourself. Be patient because it will take time for them to get back to you with a decision about your internship. I remember being really antsy and not knowing whether all the time that passed after my interview was a good sign or a bad one. Either way, it will all work out! Also, keep in mind that NBC gets thousands of applications each semester. Don’t change who you are and what you are passionate about during your application/interview process or when you start working there. NBCUniversal will embrace you and all your uniqueness. Focus on being coachable and eager to learn, because you will learn so so much!
Opportunities at NBCUniversal are highly competitive, and they receive thousands of applications. One coveted opportunity is the NBC News Associate Program, which is a paid, year-long training opportunity that develops post-graduate journalists into network news producers. Additionally, they boast a number of production and operations internships. It is important to note that these are designed to train network news producers, rather than on-air talent hosts.