A summer of frustration and joy

by Pablo De La Hoya

I interned last summer with the weekend “Today” show at NBC in New York City. It was a dream come true for the broadcast goals I had as an undergraduate, but as time has gone by my goals as a journalist have changed.

Now at the University of California’s Graduate School of Journalism in Berkeley, I know that I prefer creating long-form videos or documentary films to doing broadcast journalism. While documentary filmmaking is my passion, I have developed my skills as a multimedia reporter to produce content for online social media networks. I expected I would make that journey but did not see it happening as quickly as it did. Last spring, I began working at the nonprofit Youth Radio as a multimedia reporter, producing more than one video a week. The rush and excitement of the work revitalized my journalism career, and I was looking forward to more such thrills.

At my internship, I expected to be involved in the hands-on production aspects of the show, but I was wrong. The first couple of weeks were slow, and the work was quick and simple. As the summer continued, I looked for other creative outlets to continue to develop my skills as a visual communicator. I turned to YouTube and made a video of myself walking around Central Park and taking photographs. Although I enjoyed that process, it was only a Band-Aid for a bigger problem: the feeling that a creative dark cloud was beginning to hover over me.

One week at the weekend “Today” show gave me hope when I was asked to go out on a video shoot with a producer. The shoot was an all-day affair and a lot of fun. Although I couldn’t get behind a camera, I learned a lot from watching and helping in other ways. I hoped to continue on that path and contribute to more stories, but that did not happen. Quickly, one week turned into a stand-alone highlight of an entire summer.

Frustration grew as work slowed, but at the end of the day I was in Rockefeller Center with more of NBC around me. I decided to visit NBC Latino and pitch a story. Although the story hit a standstill, I learned a lot from reporting on it. The story gave me a head start on reporting for my thesis documentary, which I am working on now.

Although my summer at NBC wasn’t great, it did offer many lessons. Other moments throughout the internship sparked a bigger interest in broadcast, but my heart was set on digital news production because, in my mind, that was more exciting.

These days, I am still working at Youth Radio, developing longer stories as we continue to push our social media content, and I hope to be here for as long as I’m needed. I have found a position that I can flourish in at an organization that has a lot of growing room. That is both exciting and a bit frightening, but I am looking forward to it.

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