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WGBH Radio Winternship: Two sides of the story

Updated: Dec 18, 2023

January 2023


My Winternship Experience: WGBH, Sam Dieringer (A24)


wgbh wintern selfie
Photo: Sam Deiringer

Growing up, I was fascinated with the radio. Every day, my parents would have the radio on in the kitchen, listening to all genres of music, game shows, news, and other local programming. I’d often sit and listen with them. One of the stations my parents often tuned in to was 89.7 WGBH, Boston’s local PBS and NPR affiliate radio station. Flash forward 15 years later and I probably wouldn’t believe it if you said I would work there.


I was particularly excited about my winternship with GBH, because I knew it would be especially useful for my specific interests in media. I find the radio production industry to be difficult to picture unless involved in a studio, and I knew getting a gig with a major radio station would be key to better understanding my place in the industry. Going in, I had a few key goals in mind: get a sense of the studio environment, meet some cool people, and leave with a better idea of what actual job titles most interest me.


I started each day of my winternship in a zoom meeting with the entire GBH newsroom. The managing editor went over the content of the day, and then for the rest of the meeting, we’d go around the zoom room and pitch new ideas. After the meeting, I got a text from my supervisor about the plan for the day and from there, I was off to work.



wgbh anchors
Photo: Sam Deiringer

The GBH team did not hesitate to throw me right into the mix. Throughout my two weeks at GBH, I took on a hefty amount of reporting. I’d set out into Boston almost every day with an audio recorder and microphone. As a man-on-the-street, I interviewed tourists, activists, lawyers, and shop owners on a variety of topics from the Red Sox to the January 6th Insurrection. Each day, I collected sound bites from pedestrians, and created cut scripts with audio that I captured. The cut scripts would eventually make their way to the radio, where radio host Arun Rath read them out each evening live on All Things Considered (This was so cool). In addition to roaming the streets of Boston, I traveled to the actual office in Brighton a fair amount. There, I met a variety of staff from across the organization including radio personalities Jim Braude, Jared Bowen, show producers, and prominent news editors. I sat in on multiple live tapings of shows, and soaked in lots of advice and anecdotes from professionals.



The Embrace statue
Photo: Sam Deiringer

The news team didn’t hesitate to send me to some of their biggest events, and allowed me to actively publish written content. On the last Friday of my winternship, I was assigned to report on The Embrace statue unveiling on the Boston Common. I interviewed multiple people closely tied to the leaders of the unveiling, as well as pedestrians watching the event. In addition to reporting on The Embrace, I wrote up a web story that ended up going on GBH’s primary website. After days interviewing local store owners about their holiday sales and how inflation has impacted their experience, I managed to get the feature length story published on their primary website.


GBH was the ultimate hands-on experience – I spent my two weeks field reporting, making connections, and listening to my work broadcasted live on air. As a liberal arts student, these are the types of experiences that perfectly supplement my education at Tufts. I learn how to think critically about media within the FMS department, and the winternship fills in the gaps with tangible vocational skills and provides a more true sense of the working world.



Exterior of Henry Bear's Park shop in Arlington

The transferable skills I acquired throughout my experience define what I liked about GBH. I researched by gathering information/data and edited and proofread documents — much of the “information-gathering” consisted of interviews, and talking to actual people out in the world. Research and editing are key to almost any profession in the media industry, let alone the workforce as a whole, and I’m glad this winternship provided me with more opportunities to continue to hone in these skills. One of the most important transferable skills I felt I honed in the most was the ability to adapt easily to changing situations. As a news field reporter, everything is in flux — factors such as weather, technology, and time greatly dictate ultimate production. During my winternship, I found there were multiple instances where I ran into issues, whether it be my mic running out of batteries or my audio files not loading on time, where I had to adapt quickly on the fly. However, I learned in each instance to quickly adapt, finding new creative ways to record with my phone or capture quotes on paper, in order to still meet the end goal on time.


The transferable skill I tapped into the most during my winternship was building and maintaining relationships. Everyday during my winternship with GBH, I met someone new involved in the station. Dozens of reporters, producers, and staff provided me with important advice as an upcoming member of the media industry. Specifically, my contacts with Matt Baskin (The Assignments Editor), Jeffrey Keating (The Evening Editor), and Craig LeMoult (Tufts alum and supervisor) proved to be invaluable during my time at GBH. Not only were the three my primary point people for assignments, but they also provided me with actual critical feedback that I was able to immediately apply to my work.



WGBH news monitors
Photo: Sam Deiringer

Working in the newsroom gave me a great idea of the extremely tight deadlines of a news organization, and how quickly things get out to the public. I had to research, report, and file so much content all within the span of a few hours each day. The dynamic atmosphere of the newsroom was both exciting and exhausting. This work already helped me realize that newsroom field reporting may not necessarily be my favorite type of media work. After sitting on the station's special programming for both radio and television, I realized that my place could be instead as a producer/content writer for more featured length programming like radio and tv shows.


The “follow-ups” from my winternships are endless. This experience affirmed my passion for media, and gave me even more motivation to pursue film & media courses at Tufts within journalism, video/audio production, and media ethics. Outside of Tufts, GBH provides a gateway into other Boston media organizations. With close ties to WBUR, PBS, and many local broadcast outlets, my connection to GBH makes me more confident to pursue many informational interviews, and continue to establish myself in Boston’s media industry. Above all else, I know my time with WGBH is not yet finished – I’m extremely interested and excited by the possibility of returning to GBH this upcoming summer, whether it be again as a newsroom intern or a production intern on a particular show. With GBH staff expressing interest in having me back, I hope to make this idea a reality in the coming months.


If I could describe my GBH winternship experience in three words, it would be surprising, fast-paced, and helpful. GBH immediately thrusted me in the dynamic, fast-paced environment of a major newsroom, strengthened preexisting aspects of my reporting, and introduced me to new forms of multimedia journalism. This experience helped me better recognize my current place in the media industry, supplied me with many new connections in the Boston area, and honed in on my specific interests in broadcast.

 

WGBH Winternship Feedback, Craig LeMoult, Reporter, GBH News

WGBH wintern selfie in front of The Embrace statue
Photo: Sam Deiringer

Just wanted to say thanks for sending Sam our way and let you know he did a great job contributing to the GBH newsroom over the last two weeks. Sam was hugely productive and was almost immediately out in the field with a recorder, reporting stories for GBH radio. He did man-on-the-street interviews on several different stories, ranging from the Red Sox contract with Rafael Devers to people’s thoughts on the Jan. 6 anniversary. He wrote “cut-script” newscast spots that were read on our air, using that interview tape he gathered. Sam also interviewed people at the unveiling of the MLK memorial last week.

 

Sam sat in on live productions of GBH radio’s “All Things Considered” and “Boston Public Radio” shows, as well as a taping of the “Greater Boston” TV show.

 

And over the course of the last week, he did original reporting on the holiday sales figures for local businesses, interviewing the Retailers Association of Massachusetts and several local businesses, resulting in this story with his byline, published on the GBH News website today.

 

Always great to have another Jumbo in the house, especially when his work impresses the GBH editors. Thanks for sending another sharp one our way.

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