A Taste of the Real World: Jenine J. Ikeler

By Jill C. Hindman
November 15, 2001

Jill C. hindman

She jumped off a 75-foot cliff in Negril, Jamaica, is addicted to anything vanilla and has had an internship with the highest rated local newscast in America.

At 5’1″ Jenine J. Ikeler might be short in size, but towers in experience. Ikeler, a senior English/communications major, had a mission last spring and that mission was to find an internship. Not only did she find what she was looking for, but also an experience that she would never forget.

Ikeler landed herself an internship at Channel 16 “The News Station.” Channel 16 is the number one station in Scranton, where she is from. It is an ABC affiliate and is owned by the New York Times. Channel 16 is the 51st largest market out of over 200 markets in the country and it covers 22 counties.

“I was really thrust into this environment,” Ikeler said. “I wrote stories for the reporters to read on air, chose sound bites for the producers and interviewed people while choosing an angle for reports. Basically, I did everything from researching to producing.”

When a student applies for an internship at WNEP they have the choice of working in news, weather or sports. As a news intern Ikeler worked 40 hours a week at WNEP without pay. “I met a lot of people. I had the privilege of meeting former governor Tom Ridge, the recently appointed head of Homeland Security and different anchors from the area. I also rode in the Sky Cam helicopter and talked with people from CNN on the telephone.”

WNEP is a 24-hour operation. An intern can expect to rotate their bi-weekly schedules during the week and on the weekends. It was a hard decision for Ikeler whether or not to take the internship because she knew that she would have absolutely no money for the entire summer. When asked how she managed Ikeler said, “I relied on the financial support of my mother and had really good friends that paid for all of my cover charges and drinks.”

The reporters at WNEP explained to her that this is a profession that you need to love in order to do. It is a very stressful work environment that inhibits a person from starting a family or in some cases, relationships. It also can make it difficult to establish a social life because of the crazy hours and the fact that every two years reporters get transferred all over.

“Going in to the position I thought that I wanted to have a career in broadcast journalism, however after spending 12 weeks in a hectic news environment I decided that I wanted to go into public relations. After taking a public relations class with Melissa Reich, public relations professor, this semester, I am sure that is what I want to do.”

Even though Ikeler realized that she does not want to pursue a career in broadcast journalism she looks at this in a positive light.

“I could have never learned all of that in the classroom. Reading about it in a book, or hearing about it in a lecture is completely different than the actual hands-on experience that you gain,” said Ikeler. “I was not paid by the hour, but the education that I have acquired through this experience was priceless.”

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Jill C. Hindman

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