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What I Learned as a KCTS 9 Intern

Over the course of six months, University of Washington student Sydney Friend Sifferman worked in KCTS 9’s Marketing & Communications department as a Community Engagement Intern. As her internship comes to an end, she shares some of the key things she learned and will take away from her time at KCTS 9:

For the past six months, I have had the opportunity to work as the Community Engagement Intern at KCTS 9. Although I worked primarily on social media and events, I also got the chance to learn a little bit about television production. As a college student, it is surprisingly difficult to find an internship that actually wants to help students learn, but at KCTS 9 the whole internship is a learning experience.
 
As a community engagement intern, my daily tasks were primarily focused on events. I really did not know how much work went into event planning until I began this internship.
 
First, I had to research venues, which meant finding the right place for the right amount of people and the right type of event, in the right area, with the right price. Finding that one place is not always easy. Then, the most fun part of planning an event is finding activities for the guests attending the event — that means games, photo booths, prizes, giveaways, etc. After finding the venue and a way to entertain guests, the last part is putting everything together: creating an event page to promote it, making all the signs and any decoration elements, ordering the materials for any activities we plan on doing, putting together goodie bags, and the list goes on.  
 
One of the most memorable events we did was the KCTS 9 Kids Day at the Zoo. I made my guest appearance as Daniel Tiger — in 90 degree weather! Although it was, needless to say, really hot wearing Daniel’s sweater all day, we got to have some fun, too! 
 

Daniel Tiger Day at the Zoo from KCTS 9 on Vimeo.

I also got to create content for KCTS9.org by making a volunteer page. Nonprofits like KCTS 9 provide several opportunities for volunteering. Extra hands are always needed for events like the Mister Rogers Sweater Drive, and I learned that a good volunteer page on the website is necessary to catch peoples' interest and rally the helping hands the staton needs.

A big part of my job was managing social media. As a college student, I use social media every day in my personal life, but using social media for a professional organization is drastically different. Working as a marketing intern, I learned how to make social media professional — that meant learning how to talk to a target audience, fact-checking before posting, checking for simple grammar and spelling errors and finding interesting topics to post about that are relevant to KCTS 9 viewers.

I also learned how to shift my writing for use in a professional setting.  Even though I am majoring in English and writing is part of my daily life in college, writing for a professional organization is much different than the writing I was used to. Professional blogs are very different from the essays, newspaper articles or personal blogs that I had written in the past. One of my favorite blogs that I wrote was an opinion piece on the The Women’s List. I got the opportunity to write about something I am very passionate about: feminism. 

Blogging for KCTS 9 also meant I developed my interviewing skills. Having a background in reporting and working for a school newspaper, I am used to interviewing people, which helped. It is all about finding the story, but when doing it for an organization like KCTS 9, it once again comes down to finding the relevance of that story for the audience. As the month of August was also the month of our Women Who Inspire campaign, I got to interview and write a story about a local woman who inspires others through music.

My day-to-day internship tasks weren't restricted to marketing or community engagement. Even though I was not a television production intern, KCTS 9 encouraged me to work with the production team to help shoot several commercials. I learned how marketing and production work together to get their messages out. One of the first shoots I went on with the production team was the Fund Your Favorites campaign.

Last, but certainly not least, my internship with KCTS 9 taught me how to work in an office setting. Learning how to work in an office might seem really simple, but most college students never experience it until they get an internship. I learned how to work professionally as part of a team and independently with my own responsibilities. I also learned how to have a set schedule by working 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. 

Over the past six months, my internship has enriched me with knowledge that will help me find a good job when I graduate. Working at KCTS 9 has helped prepare me for my future after college, which is what internships are supposed to do. 
 

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Wow! I wish I interned there! I am so jealous of Sydney and her experiences!

Sydney sounds like a rockstar, I bet she will be missed!

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