Twenty-one USC Annenberg students will have an extraordinary view of the 2012 Olympic Games as interns for NBC Sports in London and New York.
USC Annenberg is one of five schools across the country that the television network specifically targeted for its Summer Olympics Internship Program. In 2008, NBC hired 10 USC Annenberg students as interns for the Olympics in Beijing.
“Just thinking about the fact that I will be interning at the Olympics this summer seems surreal,” Emilie Mateu (B.A. Broadcast and Digital Journalism) said. “I feel so lucky to have been given such an incredible opportunity that so few people will ever get!”
Suzanne Alcantara , associate director of USC Annenberg’s Office of Career Development and International Programs, said the partnership between NBC Sports and USC Annenberg started because of alumnus David Neal, former executive vice president of NBC Olympics. Neal suggested that NBC look to USC Annenberg for outstanding students.
“This summer internship is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for our students,” Alcantara said. “It will give them a chance to experience journalism first-hand, covering sporting events that are watched at a global level by millions of people.”
Sixteen of the 22 USC students – one, Gideon Welles, is not at the Annenberg School – will intern in London. The other six will be stationed at NBC's 30 Rock headquarters in New York City.
Carly Santiago (B.A. Public Relations) said there are many separate things that excite her about this opportunity.
“I will be in London, a city I have never experienced before with people from all over the world,” Santiago said. “I will be watching an event live that, in some respect, holds the eyes of the entire world. And I will be in the presence of the greatest athletes in the world – people who are the epitome of dedication in both mental and physical strength and people who may go down in history. I will also be working for a successful network I love while learning extremely valuable skills for my future career.”
Layne Kaplan (B.A. Broadcast and Digital Journalism) said this internship will be a great foundation to help her reach her career goals.
“I want to be in the sports journalism industry, so going to London with such an incredible news corporation will be a great start,” Kaplan said. “It is crazy to think that I am going to be part of a team that will help the country watch the most coveted sporting competition in the world.”
Alcantara said the students will have the opportunity to work side by side with well-respected journalists and learn invaluable skills that will help them as they process in their careers.
Professional broadcast journalists at the Olympics will include USC Annenberg alumni such as four-time gold-medal-winning basketball player Lisa Leslie (B.A. Communication '97), Ari Wolfe (M.A. Broadcast Journalism '98), and Andres Cantor (Print Journalism ‘85), who is credited with coining the “Gooooooaaaaalllll” call in soccer.
Undergraduate student Sarah Politis, whose dream is to one day host her own talk show that highlights people who have a positive impact on the world, will soon be working among these accomplished broadcasters in London.
“I'm absolutely thrilled, stoked, excited!” Politis said. “None of these words seem to do the experience justice. I'm incredibly honored and humbled to be a part of such an important and prestigious event. I'm excited to explore everything – the Games, the people, the culture. I'm also excited to represent NBC at a world-wide event.”
Cassondra Bussing, who is minoring in News Media and Society at USC Annenberg, similarly hopes to one day create television documentaries that highlight the positive aspects of international culture, especially focusing on those countries that are generally misunderstood because of political differences.
“Interning at the Olympic Games provides the perfect opportunity to prepare for my future career, as it will provide me with excellent exposure to international media outlets, techniques in promoting international understanding through television broadcast, as well as general television production experience,” Bussing said.
Paige Graham (B.A. Broadcast and Digital Journalism), who hopes to go into sports broadcasting as a career, also said that this internship ties in perfectly with her future plans.
“I'm so unbelievably excited to be involved in the Olympics, which is in my opinion the greatest international sporting event,” Graham said. “I feel honored to be a part of it. I've always enjoyed the Olympics and felt such patriotism watching the games at home. Now I have an opportunity to actually attend and become involved with this incredible event, and I am beyond thrilled.”
The students, however, said they realize the internship will also be hard work.
“The other interns and I, in whatever job we have, are directly influencing what millions of American viewers are watching on television for the largest global event,” Kristina Stavros (B.A. Communication) said. “It will be a high-intensity and high-stress environment, with long, full weeks. I know that the experiences that await me in this internship will provide me with experiences for any job interviews or challenges I may face in future endeavors.”
Tim Burgess, former director of USC Annenberg’s Office of Career Development, said the large number of USC Annenberg students interning is further proof of their impressive skills.
“They're talented, hard working and have great attitudes – they really do make us proud,” Burgess said.
Most students said they found out about the internship opportunity from the “Jobs and Internships of the Day” email sent out by USC Annenberg’s Office of Career Development and International Programs.
“The one thing this opportunity has made me realize is what kind of amazing opportunities present themselves at USC,” Mateu said. “I am so excited to represent the Trojan Family abroad and wouldn't have been able to get there without the help and resources offered to me as a USC Annenberg student. This will definitely be one of the highlights of my college years and something I will remember for the rest of my life.”
Andrew Magne, who is minoring in Sports Media Studies at USC Annenberg, said he is thrilled to be involved with the internship program.
“I have always wanted to work in sports in some capacity, and now I have an opportunity to do so on the biggest stage of them all,” Magne said. “It's going to be a lot of work, but a lot of fun too.”
Seth Rubinroit, who is also minoring in Sports Media Studies, talked about the significance of hearing journalism professor Alan Abrahamson interview Oscar Pistorius at the Global Sports Forum while Rubinroit studied in Barcelona last semester.
“Pistorius overcame a double amputation of his legs to dominate the competition in the Paralympic Games, and he will compete in the Olympic Games as well,” Rubinroit said. “I look forward to being part of the NBC team as we tell the incredible and inspirational stories of Olympic athletes such as Pistorius.”
Abrahamson, who made Sports Illustrated’s list of 50 Twitter feeds to follow during the Olympics, will undoubtedly cover some of the USC Annenberg student-athletes who will be competing. Among the 39 Trojans attending the 2012 Olympics are alumni Tumua Anae (B.A. Communication ’10, USA water polo), Tina Kefalas (B.A. Communication ’00, Greece track), Sofia Konoukh (B.A. Communication ’04, Russia water polo), Rebecca Soni (B.A. Communication ’09, USA swimming) and Donald Suxho (B.A. Communication ’00, USA volleyball). Current student Haley Anderson (B.A. Communication ’13, USA swimming) will also compete.
“I simply cannot wait to see USC athletes take home another gold medal!” Bussing said. USC athletes have won at least one gold medal in every summer Olympics since 1912. USC has sent more athletes to the Olympics than any other university, and Trojans have won 262 medals (123 gold).