Srushti Kamat, journalism major and current ICSP student from Singapore/ India recently interned with Oregon Public Broadcasting (OPB), the National Public Radio (NPR) and Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) affiliate for Oregon.
Its main office is in Portland and during the summer she was there for two months, and she spend another month traveling to Vietnam and Singapore. Currently, she is still interning for it to complete the post-production project for its NorthWest Stories which is collaborating with the Vietnam War Project.
Kamat also held a second internship at Blue Chalk Media, a non-fiction video production company with offices in New York and Portland. Over the summer she alternated between the two internships depending on projects and availability.
With OPB she performed as its documentary production management intern and student liaison on the NorthWest Stories. Now she is remotely working from Eugene and heading up to Portland whenever possible.
Seven students were selected to be a part of the NorthWest Stories digital series. They stayed in Ho Chi Minh City from Sept. 1 until the 14. It was a collaboration between OPB and the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication. The team filmed a series of short documentaries with the aim to find connecting points between Oregon and Vietnam under the umbrella of the Vietnam War Project by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick.
“I was responsible for managing the team of seven who were based in different parts of Oregon,” said Kamat. She worked with them to find stories that showed a connection between Oregon and the Vietnam War. They arranged the logistics for the two week trip to Ho Chi Minh City, which included finding translators, creating a production schedule, conducting pre-interviews and interviews, scouting for locations etc.
With Blue Chalk, she performed as its production assistant for shoots and helped with projects as a researcher, organizer, and general personal assistant to complete small tasks.
The highlight of her internship at OPB was getting to spearhead an independent project. “A lot of interns don’t get as much creative control so being given the freedom to take the vision and pursue it with ambition and rigor was incredible,” said Kamat, “I also received a great mentor and supervisor in Alison Perkins who guided me through the world of multimedia journalism in 2017 and how to focus on telling a good story before anything else.” Her biggest highlight was to work internationally and visit Vietnam.
Her highlight at Blue Chalk was to learn and work with the talented individuals around her and to work under time constraints in a work flow structure. “I learned efficiency and working as a team to transform ideas into tangible products, ” said Kamat.
The most difficult task for Kamat was to manage a team that lived in different locations. “Without being together in the same space involved coming up with creative solutions to work together as much as we possibly could, ” said Kamat.
As she was new to both companies and was working in a different city for the first time, she felt overwhelmed managing two jobs. “Not a lot of people get the opportunities that I did this summer so I worked through the struggles and made sure to write my thoughts down and keep myself engaged,” said Kamat.
A few things she took away from this experience were to handle projects in different ways, time management, authenticity and honesty, and to challenge herself to think about how media handles issues. “I realized that journalists are some of the most hard working people you will ever meet.,” said Kamat, “they are passionate and willing to be critical of the industry but stand true to the power of storytelling.” Gaining the trust of the public is an important aspect of being a journalist so she felt hopeful and excited to enter a profession with such work ethic.
Her professional/ personal tips:
Her advice to students looking for internships is firstly: “be curious”. Building professional relationships at an early stage, seeking opportunities in different areas, open-mindedness, asking good questions, and being passionate were also some of her suggestions to build experiences. “I got many of the opportunities I did because I continued to reach out to the places I want to work at, sought out opportunities to help with projects in whatever area they needed,” said Kamat, “use the experiences from your past to guide you but not foreshadow your opinions of how the world works.”