Inside NPR

(Former) NPR Interns: Parting Advice From One Intern to Another

Meet The Former Interns

Sara Richards
Sara Richards

Sara Richards
Current Title: Production Assistant, NPR Berlin and Sirius/XM, Programming
Internship: Arts & Information Desk in 2007

Patricia Cervini
Patricia Cervini

Patricia Cervini
Current Title: Sr. Manager, Member & Audience Partnership
Internship: Public Affairs in 1982

Jason DeRose
Jason DeRose/Ed Schoenfeld

Jason DeRose
Current Title: Western Bureau Chief, NPR News
Internship: Washington Desk in 1995

John Asante
John Asante

John Asante
Current Title: Editorial Assistant, Talk of the Nation
Internship: Weekend All Things Considered in 2009

Audie Cornish 2010
Audie Cornish/Doby/NPR

Audie Cornish
Current Title: Host, All Things Considered
Internship: National Desk in 2000

Anna Sebok
Anna Sebok

Anna Sebok
Current Title: Administrative Coordinator, Programming
Internship: Development Special Events in 2008

As shared in this post, we're talking with a few NPR staffers who were once NPR interns. Today is the premiere of Intern Edition – an intern-led, web-based program – and one of the final projects for NPR's summer intern class. Over the past week we've shared the first impressions, advice and stories that made former NPR intern experiences as memorable as our own.

Every spring, summer and fall a new group of interns join the NPR team and leave knowing (at least) a little more than when they arrived. What was the best advice you received during your internship that you think all current NPR interns should leave having heard?

Sara Richards: "Before I finished my internship, someone told me to find a subject or area of interest that I truly loved and was passionate about, and to chase that to no end. That sounds really simple, but I feel like it can be hard to define when you're young and just starting out. I think enthusiasm shouldn't be underestimated."

Patricia Cervini: "Best advice? Take advantage of every opportunity and chance to learn and get involved. Take the initiative to explore other divisions – ask questions – be nosey. My internship overlapped with NPR's annual public radio conference that was taking place in Washington, D.C. I got out of school, so I could attend sessions and hear then-Vice President George H.W. Bush speak at the luncheon. Initially I wasn't invited as part of my internship but I asked enough questions that they finally said, 'Do you want to go to this thing?'"

Jason DeRose: "There were two pieces of advice Linda Wertheimer gave me: 1) Always have a plan B. And 2) Don't mess up (although she used a decidedly more colorful word than 'mess')."

John Asante: "It's kind of hard to give one piece. For the sake of keeping things short, I'll condense them into one: definitely DO NOT be afraid to talk to people, to ask questions, to fail (within reason), to shadow a reporter or producer or editor. You don't want to leave your internship with any regrets."

Audie Cornish: "Leave. After logging insane amounts of tape for Steve Inskeep he told me that the best way to get experience in public radio is to go to a member station and do as many stories as humanly possible. And file for "the network" whenever you can. So a big thanks to the editors at New England member stations: WFCR, WRNI and WBUR."

Anna Sebok: "If you don't know something, ask! It's incredibly easy to get intimated by a place like NPR, especially as an intern, but if you don't ask questions you'll never learn. And you'd be surprised at what others might learn as a result of you asking the questions!"

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