The Quad Summer Internship Series
Charlie Shelton, North Carolina Public Radio
Chapel Hill, North Carolina
What’s a typical day for you like?
Position: "The State of Things" Intern
School: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Major: Journalism and Mass Communications
How did you get the internship?
I reached out to various people I know that work with, or have been involved in, public radio and asked for their advice and support while I applied for the internship with the program the “The State of Things.” I am involved in UNC’s student-newscast Carolina Connection, which has given me a lot of great experience in reporting for radio journalism. This experience gave me the right credentials when I applied for the internship, along with my involvement with the campus radio station and newspaper. I sent my application, and then went in for an interview. During the interview, I was very impressed with the studio and the commitment of all the people who made the daily talk show happen. After an in-person interview, I was offered the internship and began after my spring semester ended.
The staff has a morning meeting at 9 am every day to tie things up for the day’s show. The show then airs live from noon to one. My role is to make sure our host and all the producers have everything they need before the show, as well as make sure the day’s guests have arrived at the studio. When I produce segments for the show, I pitch the story to the staff, research the topic, pre-interview guests and assemble scripts for the show’s host Frank Stasio to work with when we air live. It is a fast-paced environment every day that is exciting and challenging.
What is your favorite part about this opportunity and what is the most challenging part about it?
My favorite part is personally learning about all the great stories people have to share in North Carolina. People are so motivated and driven in this area to pursue things they are passionate about, so it has been incredible offering these people a platform to share their stories and the work they’re doing. It makes the job so meaningful when people tell me outside the office that they heard something on our show they didn’t previously know about, and are now glad they are informed on an important topic. However, the show is only an hour a day so our time on the air is limited. Therefore, it can be a challenge to narrow down the stories for the day and select the right segments that will have a good reach to our listeners.
What advice would you give to future interns to maximize their experience?
As a producer for a daily radio talk show, everybody has their own rhythm and niche in which they work. I would encourage future interns to find their rhythm and niche early, and establish themselves as a regular contributor to the show. For example, every Friday we have live music on the show, a segment I have thoroughly enjoyed producing weekly, along with other segments. It may sound like a cliché, but it is true: how much you get out of the internship depends on how much you put in. Don’t be invisible, make a space for yourself in the studio.
How will you apply the work you’re doing here to your college experience?
I plan to take what I have learned at North Carolina Public Radio back to UNC and the broadcasts I am a part of there. I have a strong passion for news on campus, and I feel with working for “The State of Things” I have developed a more thorough and sophisticated method of reporting that I plan to contribute to UNC’s Journalism School and it’s programs. Being at “The State of Things” has also taught me to always keep my ears open for a good story. I know everybody on UNC’s campus has a story to tell, and I look forward to coming across them during my time left at UNC.
Is there anything else you would like to add about what makes your internship unique?
This opportunity is unique because not often do you get to meet such interesting people at your job every day and learn about all that is happening in the local community. Even though we work in a studio all day, you still get to see and feel how much the local community is thriving with all the passionate people that come in to talk on our program. It is a great opportunity to see the many colors of North Carolina.
If you have any more questions about the position or Charlie's experience tweet him @ChuckShelton14