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April 16, 2003
Recent Ohio University graduate takes the next step
By Jamie Heberling

Jamie Heberling, currently on a post-graduate internship with NBC's "Today" show, will file journal entries as her time in New York progresses. Forthcoming "Jamie's Journal" entries can be found on Ohio University's "Today at Ohio" Web site.

I left the GE Building at Rockefeller Center and headed east in a pair of pointy-toed pumps that I convinced myself I needed in order to look like a real New Yorker.

My destination: 52nd and Broadway. My mission: Deliver a package to Entertainment Weekly for a producer's assistant at NBC's "Today" show. As the newest "Today" intern, errand running is akin to initiation into an exclusive club.

quoteAlthough I was terribly busy working with a different producer on a promo for this summer's edition of "Today Ties the Knot," I decided to go in the name of developing the all-important reputation as a go-getter. Only in my second week, no one knows my work ethic or level of motivation. My supervisors don't know my background or personal story. Humbly, I reminded myself the way to develop a network is from the bottom up.

After two never-ending, blistering blocks east, I realized I had gone the wrong direction. Broadway Street was nowhere in sight. I longed for the comfort of the tennis shoes I normally wore to class in Athens.

Two weeks ago, I thought getting to the top of Jefferson Hill was a challenge. Now, I see streams of yellow cabs and I'm surrounded by tides of unique foreign languages. Yet, I'm the one that feels small, lost and out of place.

New York is intimidating compared to the comparably slow pace of the Midwest, where I was raised. But here, every day is an adventure!

Slightly annoyed and uncomfortable with my misadventure, I swore to myself I was too good for the menial tasks being given me. No recent graduate of such a fine institution as Ohio University should subject herself to this, I thought! For a fleeting moment, I thought the unpaid post-graduate internship wasn't worth my time or money.

Then, I considered a few redeeming, once-in-a-lifetime opportunities that I had earlier that day.

I shared an elevator with Tom Brokaw from "NBC Nightly News" and was too star-struck to speak.

I helped produce my first-ever television segment.

A group of NBC studio tourists passing through the building gawked at me simply because I really work here.

I met one-on-one with "Today" co-host and Ohio University alumnus Matt Lauer. We discussed my career goals. We talked about our favorite places on campus and his old apartment above Barron Men's Shop on Court Street. We talked about my chance as an Ohio University alumna to surpass the typical errand-running duties every intern endures. Better yet, I felt he genuinely cared about making my experience at "Today" extraordinary.

After running all the day's errands, dubbing countless tapes and making the 20-minute train ride home, I had a handful of great memories and many great stories to tell.

After all, that's what this internship is all about. I have to take the good along with the bad, looking at the bright side: I saw a few streets of New York that I otherwise wouldn't have.

Jamie Heberling, while an undergraduate at Ohio University, was a writer for University Communications and Marketing


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