When USC Annenberg Broadcast & Digital Journalism major Fernando Hurtado (‘16) received a phone call from a Chicago area code in April, he assumed it must be someone he knew calling from back home in the Windy City. Hurtado never dreamed it would be the producers of the Steve Harvey talk show calling, offering him the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be Harvey’s ‘Intern For a Day’ and appear on an episode of the show, which will air nationally tomorrow, June 10 at 3 p.m. on KNBC. “I freaked out,” laughed Hurtado, who was at the gym when he received the call and was completely floored by his selection.
Hurtado learned about the Steve Harvey ‘Intern for a Day’ opportunity while working at Annenberg Television News (ATVN), where he serves as the Web Supervisor. Hurtado, a rising junior, is also the Director of Video Content at USC Annenberg’s 24/7 digital news outlet Neon Tommy and is minoring in Web Technologies and Cinematic Arts, so he had no trouble creating an impressive video submission, but he says he almost didn’t apply due to concerns over missing school and work to fly back to Chicago. Thankfully, he decided to give the application a shot, and sent producers a 40-second video clip explaining why he wanted to be Steve Harvey’s ‘Intern for a Day.’ “I am extremely attentive to detail,” Hurtado says in his application video, in which he lists six reasons for wanting to be Steve Harvey’s ‘Intern For a Day.’ “And I can make mean fajitas and lasagna.” Steve Harvey producers were impressed, and said that in addition to Hurtado’s application, videos created by other USC students were among the strongest they received for the first-ever Steve Harvey “Intern for a Day” opportunity. After getting the good news, Hurtado was flown out to the WMAQ-TV studios in Chicago, where his day as an intern at Steve Harvey was a flurry of non-stop activity from the early morning until late in the evening.
“Steve Harvey was already taping his radio show at six a.m., and I spent basically the whole day with him,” said Hurtado. “I was doing everything from making his special green smoothie he drinks every morning, to making calls for a gala he was organizing, to helping proofread his book before it even hits the printing press.”
In addition to assisting with The Steve Harvey Morning Show, Hurtado also got to see not one but two live tapings of Steve Harvey, all while being filmed himself. For Hurtado, working alongside Harvey for the day only reaffirmed his determination to pursue his goals and dreams.
“I expected to just walk out with Mr. Harvey to the show, but he put his hand on my shoulder and started giving me advice and telling me that I have to chase my dreams, and if you really want something you have to work towards it,” said Hurtado. “And he’s a perfect example of that. Hurtado is also an example of this mindset himself; the son of Mexican immigrants Maria and Victor Hurtado, Hurtado is a first-generation college student. He works three jobs along with being a full time student during the school year. “I’ll be the first in my family to graduate from college, so that definitely drives me,” said Hurtado. “I strive to be the best that I can be.”
Though his busy schedule can be stressful at times, Hurtado is highly motivated to work as much as possible in order to gain journalism experience and help pay for his education, so Hurtado was shocked when Harvey surprised him during the live taping with $5,000 toward his college expenses.
“I was so surprised,” said Hurtado. “And I'm so grateful. It helps a ton to have that money for school.”
Hurtado credits his education and experiences at USC Annenberg with helping him secure the ‘Intern For a Day’ spot, and allowing him to so quickly acclimate to his whirlwind day at Steve Harvey. “Because of Annenberg, I had the knowledge of how to be professional in that kind of environment, and I knew how live shows worked because of ATVN,” said Hurtado. “Annenberg really prepares us in a professional way so we know how to behave as more than just students.” As if Hurtado’s ‘Intern for a Day’ opportunity weren’t impressive enough, he’s returned to Chicago for the summer to intern at the Chicago Tribune, where he’ll be working on the Spanish-language newspaper Hoy as well as the Tribune’s multimedia website and recently launched newscast.
“Annenberg has opened tons of doors for me, and this is an even bigger door that has opened,” said Hurtado. “I’m not surprised at all about the cool opportunities that my friends and classmates have this summer, because it’s just an Annenberg thing.”
Olivia Niland is a senior journalism major and has written for USC Annenberg for three years. Off-campus, she has interned for outlets including Mashable, NBC Los Angeles and The Hollywood Reporter, and recently spent a semester studying journalism in London.