As the summer winds down at NPR, we interns feel fortunate to have been part of the "real" NPR action – from pitching, editing, designing and beyond – and we fondly reflect on our experiences (and perks) unique to NPR life. Through it all, we've had the support and guidance from the best in the field.
Jason DeRose/Ed Schoenfeld
Current Title: Western Bureau Chief, NPR News
Internship: Washington Desk in 1995
Audie Cornish/Doby Photography/NPR
Current Title: Host, All Things Considered
Internship: National Desk in 2000
Current Title: Sr. Manager, Member & Audience Partnership
Internship: Public Affairs in 1982
Current Title: Editorial Assistant, Talk of the Nation
Internship: Weekend All Things Considered in 2009
Current Title: Production Assistant, NPR Berlin and Sirius/XM, Programming
Internship: Arts & Information Desk in 2007
Current Title: Administrative Coordinator, Programming
Internship: Development Special Events in 2008
So, before we look ahead to what's coming next, we checked in with a few NPR staffers who were once NPR interns themselves. Over the next five days until the August 8, premiere of Intern Edition – an intern-led, web-based program – we'll share the first impressions, advice and stories that made their intern experiences as memorable as our own.
Question: Many interns come to NPR as long-time listeners, eager to learn how NPR works from the inside out. Starting as an intern, what surprised you most about NPR after getting your first "inside look" of NPR?
Jason DeRose: "I had imagined that everyone was dressed up in suits. We are, thankfully, a casual workplace. I was also surprised at how hectic things were outside the studio; while inside the studio (at least while ATC was on the air) everyone seemed so calm. I try to remain calm, even when a deadline is looming. Being in a frenzy doesn't make anyone work faster."
Audie Cornish: "I, like most listeners, thought everybody in public radio not only knew each other but that they were practically sitting side by side. I expected to see the Car Talk guys chuckling in the hallways with Susan Stamberg."
Patricia Cervini: "What surprised me the most? EVERYTHING! My high school internship at NPR was my very first exposure to working in the media field. I knew nothing except that I wanted to work in news. My career counselor in high school said, 'Hey, I might have something you would be interested in...'
"I had never heard of NPR. My only previous encounter with public radio was my eccentric English teacher who every Friday would entertain us with audio cassette tapes of A Prairie Home Companion.
"Everyone I met at NPR was so welcoming and encouraging. I guess I didn't expect that level of warmth and interest."
John Asante: "The way in which editors, producers, and hosts worked with each other was way less dramatic than most news organizations I had visited. It was like watching a top-notch orchestra at work."
Sara Richards: "I was surprised by how much pre-production goes into the shows. I didn't have a background in radio coming into NPR, so I actually thought reporters would walk into the studio during a show to give their report—like there was a line waiting to walk into the studio."
Anna Sebok: "I have always viewed NPR as an institution, having been a listener since I was a young girl in my mom's car on the way to ballet class. In my eyes, NPR was always...well...kind of a big deal.
"As a result, I expected NPR to be somewhat stuffy and corporate-like, regardless of its nonprofit status. I was happy to find out that regardless of NPR's size, it has a very grassroots feel.
"While I still think NPR is a big deal, I've always felt like I was making an impact. From my internship through my permanent employment at NPR, my colleagues have been like my family, and I'm grateful to work somewhere where that is that case."
Megan Johnson is interning at NPR this summer in the NPR Communications Division.