How a Fox Sports Producer Won His Internship

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

As we continue the series "How to Win Your Internship and Parlay it into a Successful Career" it's time to talk to the ones who did it.  

I've shared the story of my internship with the Houston Rockets.  Part II focused on nine things you should do to ensure a successful internship.  Part III outlined eight specific things you shouldn't do during your internship.   Monday, Chris Bullock, the sports producer who reviews and approves sports department interns for CBS11/TXA21 shared advice for getting the most out of your internship

Time to meet Victor Nguyen.  He was an intern for CBS11/TXA21 while at SMU in the summer of 2005 and parlayed the internship into a part-time job as an associate producer later that fall.  He rocked his internship and covered some amazing stories (Kenny Rogers attack a photographer, anyone?).
Victor in his SMU days

Victor wanted to be on-air and took the small market TV route, working as a news reporter at KFDX in Wichita Falls for two years upon graduation.  Since 2006, he has been a sports producer at KDFW-TV in Dallas.  He has always been a proactive, creative thinker with a wonderful attitude.
What do you do now? 
I am currently a TV sports producer for KDFW FOX 4 in the Dallas-Fort Worth market.  I have been with the station since September 2006.  My responsibilities include stacking rundowns, writing scripts, editing video & coordinating live remotes for daily sportscasts & special programs.  I also post content for my station's website & social media accounts. 

What did you hope to achieve during the course of your internship? 
I wanted to learn every skill associated with putting together an informative and compelling sportscast in an ultra-competitive media market.  To achieve that goal, I wasn't above pestering the folks I worked with into submission.



Do you feel you did that? 
Absolutely.  During the internship, I learned how to use a new video editing system (Avid Newscutter), participated in the editorial process with experienced journalists who took my ideas seriously, improved my broadcast writing via a constant stream of constructive criticism & helped cover several high-profile sports stories (i.e. - Kenny Rogers assaulting a local news photographer, the Dallas Mavericks 2006 championship appearance, Terrell Owens signing with the Dallas Cowboys, etc.)


Did your internship help you get that first job out of school? Or did it lead to a career opportunity? 
My internship led to my 1st paid position in TV news.  Midway through my senior year at SMU, KTVT hired me as a part-time associate sports producer for Dallas Mavericks pregame & postgame shows.  The gig allowed me to make some money & gain valuable professional experience while I finished my degree. 

What did you like the best about your internship?
More than anything else, I loved the supportive nature of the sports department.  It was an environment where I was free to ask questions & was encouraged to learn as many responsibilities as I could handle.  All my employers asked from me in return was enthusiasm, humility & initiative. 

What was your approach to it?  
The phrase "don't waste this opportunity" ran through my head constantly.  I knew how fortunate I was to have one of only a handful of internship spots in a DFW sports department.  I was also very conscious of the fact that I was representing my university.  I pushed myself to make the most out of the experience so I wouldn't let down the professors who vouched for me & the people who took a chance to hire me. 

What do you do currently that you learned during the course of your internship?
I literally use everything I learned during my internship (editing with Avid Newscutter, stacking shows on iNews, coordinating live remotes, helping gather SOTs on location with photogs, writing scripts, setting schedules for the sports department, etc.) on my current job. 

Do you work with interns now?  What do you look for?  Is there anything you would like them to know or anything you tell them to help them succeed?  
I've worked with a number of interns in my time at FOX 4.  Most were content with going through the motions for school credit but the select few who I admired the most shared these common traits: a passion for sports, a respect for quality journalism, humility, a willingness to put in the work.  The interns that stood out jumped at the chance to learn as much as possible.  They asked lots of questions.  They logged more than their required hours.  They had realistic career expectations (starting in a small market & working up vs. being on air at ESPN or a top 25 right out of college).

His mindset "don't waste this opportunity" is an excellent one.  Too many interns do just that.   Properly run internships provide an outstanding educational experience: the chance of a lifetime to work in a unique field, make mistakes and learn from them.  

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