WEMU-FM, Ypsilanti, MI
Over the summer, I worked for the local NPR station WEMU-FM in Ypsilanti, Michigan. Though much of the station’s programming is dedicated to jazz music, I worked to help write newscasts focused in Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti and elsewhere in Washtenaw County. Every weekday during the mornings and afternoons, the station airs local news between national NPR programming. During this local newscast, an anchor reads a series of short segments about various topics. Since Washtenaw County does not have a dedicated television station, WEMU is the only broadcasting news source that covers the area. Thousands of listeners rely on the station’s segments to educate themselves on important events, and throughout my internship, I would gradually learn how to find news, edit audio and write segments that were relevant to the local community.
For the first few weeks, the station supervisor helped me learn how to research and write for radio broadcasting. I looked for news, pitched ideas and practiced how to write segments. For me, this experience was very humbling. Writing for radio, it turns out, is very different from college-level writing. As a result, I found it difficult to grow comfortable with this style.
I received plenty of feedback and my writing started to improve. Consequently, I began to draft segments for on-air broadcasting. In order to write a segment, it is necessary to interview someone and select a quote from their comments. This is not always an easy process, however, I have since come to enjoy the interview process. I find that asking questions and talking to people about their opinions is not only pleasant but also necessary for truly understanding the subject matter. For example, when the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, I conducted an interview with an opponent of abortion. Though my role was small, I felt as though my contribution helped include an important perspective at a crucial moment.
By the end of my internship, I was writing and voicing segments for broadcast. Reaching this point was immensely satisfying, because I was following the writing process from ideation to completion. When I first heard my voice on-air, I felt an indistinguishable mix of nervousness and excitement. But, along with this, I also felt very fortunate to have colleagues who patiently helped me learn and grow throughout the summer. Near the end of my internship, as our newsroom tracked elections results and statewide issues, I realized how passionate I had grown about local journalism.
I am excited to continue searching for opportunities in the field of journalism. Because of this experience, I feel better equipped to develop skills and balance my interests as I progress through college. I would like to express my sincere gratitude to everyone who helped make this possible.