Alumni gives tips on turning internships into job opportunities

David Hutter

Jamie McCarty, a 2004 graduate of Quinnipiac University, spoke to communications students in Professor Kenn Venit’s Introduction to Media Writing class on Oct. 20 about how his college internships facilitated his getting a job working in the mass media.

A native of Trumbull, McCarty works for ABC at “World News Tonight” headquarters in New York City. There, he performs a variety of jobs, from news writing to video production, for several of the television network’s programs.

“The news business is all pretty much the same thing, whether it’s print or TV,” he said. “If you want to work in the news business, it all boils down to one thing: you’ve got to be able to write.”

As a student at Quinnipiac, McCarthy established a professional rapport with mass media professionals through his work as an intern at ABC’s “Good Morning America” and through his freelance work with the network during the 2004 presidential campaigns. He also worked at Q30, the university’s student television station, putting into practice the lessons he was learning in the classroom.

McCarty warned students to be aware of the possibility that a few employees of the mass media might try to start a romantic relationship with college interns. Such behavior is unacceptable, he said.

“If anyone ever tries to make any kind of a sexual advance, tell it to a supervisor and do it right away,” he said, noting that such a possibility exists in any line of work.

McCarty, who majored in media studies and sociology, urged the students to remain in contact with the bosses they have during their internships. Venit agreed with this advice.

“One in four internships leads to jobs, even if it is several years later,” Venit said.

As a student in Venit’s class, McCarty had to watch footage of the suicide of Bud Dwyer, a Pennsylvania politician who shot himself in the head while giving a press conference that was being covered live by television news networks in 1987. The experience revolted McCarty, yet it simultaneously helped prepare him for the kinds of graphic stories and photographs he is now encountering in his current job, he said.

As an employee of ABC, McCarty has watched video and audio footage of the murder of Nicholas Berg, an American contractor who was murdered by Islamic terrorists in Iraq in May 2004, as part of his working on the story.

“It was probably the most gruesome thing I’d ever seen and heard in my life,” McCarty said. The ABC network requires employees working on stories of documented murders to watch the footage, he said.

Melissa Nocera, a sophomore from Queens, N.Y., found McCarty’s lecture useful.

“I thought it was extremely insightful and it gave an insider’s view of what it was like to work in a big media corporation,” she said.