Merrill Students, Grads Talk Internships

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Merrill Students, Grads Talk Internships
Apr 9, 2020

By Alex Murphy 

Each year, hundreds of Philip Merrill College of Journalism students scour the internet or their network of resources looking for jobs and internships.

At Merrill, students have the added benefit of the Journalism Career Center, run by internships and career development director Adrianne Flynn.

Flynn, an Arizona State graduate, has been working at Merrill College since 1999 and has helped thousands of Terps find work across the country, especially within sports journalism.

While there are plenty of internships available to students, Flynn said it’s important to find the right fit.

“It really depends on the level that you’re at,” Flynn said. “I might direct one person one place and someone with more experience to another place.

“Generally, I start telling people in writing to go to someplace like PressBox [in] Baltimore,” Flynn said. “Somebody with more experience, I might say apply for something like the Mary J. Corey Internship at The Baltimore Sun, or I might ask them to cover prep sports for The Washington Post.”

Not everyone can land their dream internship the first time out, so many start small and work their way up to more prominent positions.

Sometimes that means looking outside of sports journalism, like Danielle Stein ‘19, now a sports reporter for CBS19 in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Stein, a broadcast journalism major, didn’t land her first internship until the fall of her sophomore year, when she interned with Full Measure, a longform investigative journalism show that airs in regional television networks around the country on Sunday mornings.

As someone heavily involved in sports journalism, it wasn’t her end goal, but it led to future opportunities.

“I think it’s good to do internships that you might not necessarily think are the right fit because they might introduce you to something new or further tell you what you do or don’t like,” Stein said.

A producer with Full Measure happened to know someone who worked for ESPN’s Pardon the Interruption, where Stein landed next, working on packages for games that would air during the show.

For Stein, location played a key part in her internship search. She could travel to Washington D.C. with ease, but her final internship was back at home in Massachusetts with the New England Sports Network (NESN), where she worked on compiling Boston Red Sox highlights among other duties.

But location isn’t a factor for everyone.

Daniel Oyefusi ‘19, the newest Maryland men’s basketball beat writer for The Baltimore Sun, traveled outside DMV for his internships.

He was set on applying to as many internships as possible to give himself the most opportunities. Oyefusi ended up accepting an internship with TMZ in Los Angeles the summer after his junior year.

He also joined the Class of 2019 at the Sports Journalism Institute, where in the summer after graduation, he worked for The Commercial Appeal in Memphis, Tennessee.

“At the end of the day, I just wanted to get the experience,” Oyefusi said. “I always had the mindset that I would go where the opportunities took me. Regardless of where an internship landed me, I was going to make it work because it was important to get that experience.”

Experience is crucial in journalism, but so is networking — something senior Ryan Homler and Merrill grad Ethan Cadeaux ’19 used to land an internship at NBC Sports Washington, working on the digital side.

Homler previously worked for the Washington Redskins, writing articles for their website, but he had been applying for the NBC Sports Washington position since his freshman year. He finally landed the job his junior year, thanks to the relationships he had cultivated.

“The NBC one, I don’t think I would’ve ever gotten it if it wasn’t for connections,” Homler said. “I was able to reach out to someone that I knew there. … They said, ‘The problem is we don’t see any resumes on our desk unless we kind of know who you are already.”

The same was true for Cadeaux, who turned an internship with NBC Sports Washington into a full-time opportunity.

“You kind of use who you know,” Cadeaux said. “That’s what this whole networking thing is about, so don’t take any relationship you have lightly with anyone. You never know when it can help you.”

Networking also plays a significant role within the college, not only with students connecting with other students but also with professors, like George Solomon, the director of the Shirley Povich Center for Sports Journalism.

“The Povich Center does wonders for so many people,” Megan Smedley ‘18 said. “Everybody in the D.C. area and beyond knows who George Solomon is. Just even bringing up his name, you automatically have a connection with somebody.”

Solomon has played an integral role in helping Merrill students, like Smedley, land internships and jobs. Smedley is now a sports reporter and anchor for NBC WDNU 16 News in South Bend, Indiana.

Another way Merrill helps students prepare for internships is through its student-run publications, such as The Left Bench, which was started by former Merrill student Kofie Yeboah ’17, who now works for SB Nation.

The Left Bench also helped Merrill graduate Noah Gross land a job. Now a reporter for KTXS 12, a local ABC affiliate in Abilene, Texas, Gross quickly found his niche at The Left Bench on the broadcast side. He also worked for WMUC Sports, the sports arm of the University of Maryland’s radio station, and BTN Student U, student-produced broadcasts for the Big Ten Network.

The experience helped Gross land internships with WJLA (ABC7) and WRC (NBC4) in Washington D.C., ESPN’s Around the Horn and Fox Sports in Los Angeles.

“That’s how you learn,” Gross said. “In college, you’re allowed to make mistakes. It’s not encouraged, but you’re 18, 19 years old. That’s where you start. … There are so many people on campus willing to help you. You have to use those resources.”

The same is true for Joe Malfa ‘19, a fellow broadcast journalism major that took advantage of the opportunities at Merrill.

Malfa called games for WMUC Sports, the Maryland Baseball Network and BTN Student U. He traveled to Santa Barbara, California, for the 2018 NCAA College Cup, where Maryland men’s soccer won its first national title in a decade.

His experiences at Merrill landed him internships with NBC4 in Washington, SportsNet New York (SNY) and NBC Sports Washington. Now, he is working as a play-by-play radio broadcaster for USL Championship, USL League One and U.S. Open Cup soccer matches for VISTA Worldlink.

“Merrill does a great job at bringing in exterior people in sports to give us a snapshot of what the industry was like,” Malfa said. “… They are a great tool.”

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