Behind the Scenes
Park students intern at the 2010 Olympics. By Monica Watson ’12
While viewers tuned into the 2010 Winter Olympics from comfy couches and warm living rooms, students from the Roy H. Park School of Communications were working around the clock with NBC in Vancouver to ensure that coverage of the event was a success. Out of the pool of students who applied and interviewed with NBC for these coveted internships, 31 were selected.
Junior Nicholas Karski was one of them. He worked as a logger, a job that entailed watching Bob Costas’ prime-time Olympics coverage and Mary Carillo’s NBC Olympics Late Night show and then writing down anything significant that happened. He recalls an epiphany-like moment while taking a break near the Olympic cauldron. “I was sitting right next to it as if it were a bonfire, and everything just seemed to come together in my mind,” says Karski. “I had this realization that not only was I working at one of the biggest sporting events in the world but also for one of the biggest television networks.”
Sophomore Meghan Rindfleisch worked as a runner for the Daily Stories department at the NBC headquarters in the International Broadcasting Center. The department was responsible for creating profiles on athletes and short feature pieces. Her job entailed transcribing interviews, creating lists of clips of a particular person or event, assembling research packets for reporters before they interviewed people, and selecting background music.
Rindfleisch says she felt a little starstruck in the presence of some of the biggest names in media. “You’d see Bob Costas and Dick Ebersol walking around and Lester Holt joining them for coffee,” she says. “Brian Williams almost ran me down coming out of a bathroom once. I did get to meet Tom Brokaw because he worked really closely with Daily Stories. I pretty much wanted to pass out after I talked to him.”
Diane Gayeski, dean of the Park School, says that the Olympics is a way for students to gain experience working in a professional situation that is irreplicable in the classroom. “It’s important for our students to be able to see how professionals deal with large-scale events and complex issues and how they work together in a real-life setting.”
Associate dean of the Park School Virginia Mansfield-Richardson says that real-world working experience is crucial for students. “The Olympics is a fantastic venue for students to be working in,” she adds. “The whole behind-the-scenes effort of preparing, producing, and televising the event is extremely complex. Not a lot of things compare to what it takes to put on the Olympics.”
Karski says that witnessing what it took to organize an event like the Olympics was an eye-opening experience for him. “We have ICTV,” says Karski, “but NBC just has so many people working. Being able to work alongside the best in the business has offered me a great learning experience.”