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Feb. 14, 2013

Journalism fellowship looking for applicants WKYC Logo

By James Ryan

The WKYC Channel 3 Fellowship funded by Gannett Co. is in its third year of being offered to Cleveland State University students, and many are left wondering why more CSU students haven’t applied.

Internships aren’t a dime a dozen, especially paid internships with WKYC, an NBC affiliate in Cleveland. In this program, students learn to write for television, print and online.

“It’s common to have paid internships in print, but it’s uncommon to have paid internships in broadcast,” said Michael Rand, professor of Media Arts and Technology at Cleveland State. “Many internships are standard. You either do print or television. In the Fellowship program, you learn how to put together television news, while writing things for the web and social media.”

As new media specialists, Fellowship interns work with some of the best in broadcasting.
Students begin by reading the WKYC Facebook and website (WKYC.com) for story ideas and interesting viewer comments.

After that, they head to the assignment desk where they make round calls to local police and fire departments, coroner’s offices, sheriff’s offices, and even the coast guard.

They listen in on police scanners and filter through press releases. Once this is finished, they write fact sheets that include newsworthy events and then send it to the producers.

Fellowship interns get to ride in company vehicles, which normal interns don’t get to do.

They go into the field and work with the reporters and editors.

If that wasn’t enough, students are given the opportunity to do their own sample interviews, sample demos and stand-ups that they can use to enhance their personal portfolios.

The opportunity afforded to the student who earns this internship is priceless. But this opportunity isn’t to be had without hard work and perseverance while in school.

One former Cleveland State student used the skills he learned at Cleveland State to help him land a full-time position at Channel 3, which wouldn’t have been possible without the Fellowship internship.

“I did a lot of research for reporters, anchors and producers, shadowed reporters, worked at the assignment desk and wrote for the web and air as much as I could during my fellowship,” said Vince Fratiani, chief content producer for wkyc.com. “Writing was a strength of mine from a young age, and I took advantage of that ability, which helped get my foot in the door.”

Fratiani was one of the original Cleveland State students to earn the Fellowship Internship. This year’s Fellowship winner couldn’t be more excited about the experience he is receiving at WKYC.

“I’m learning so much about story telling from all the different reporters,” says Alberto Paneccasio. “I’m learning different preparations, speaking, writing, and different ways of getting the information out to the audience.”

“I get to be up, close and personal with all the reporters while they prepare for their stories, and I get to be with them in the field,” Paneccasio adds. “For instance, I did an interview with Dick Russ last night on his last day. He told me I did a good job. We even had lunch. On his way out, he gave me a couple books and told me they would help me. The experience I’m getting at Channel 3 is unreal.”

There is only one step that CSU students must take before they can qualify for this once-in-a-lifetime experience. Qualifying for this internship requires that students take COM 405: Electronic Journalism. Prerequisites for COM 405 are: COM 204, COM 225, COM 226 and COM 351/352.