Exit Through The (NPR) Gift Shop: Sara Peralta
Join the summer 2014 intern cohort as we look back at the unforgettable experience of #NPRLife.
Name: Sara Peralta (Twitter @sarafperalta)
Internship Position: Marketing Intern with National Public Media
Hometown: Austin, Texas
College/University: Texas State University (MA) and Agnes Scott College (BA)
Major: Mass Communications (MA) and International Relations/Spanish (BA)
What drew you to NPR? Like any self-respecting student of political science, I became a news junkie while in undergrad. I quickly discovered that NPR offers some of the best international coverage and so my obsession with public media grew from there.
What do you think separated you from other candidates applying for your internship? Competition is stiff for summer internships, so I used my application to first, clearly describe the specific skills that I offer, and second, explain my motivation to work at NPR. For example, I did not just simply say that I was familiar with using social media platforms, rather, I detailed how I have used social media to promote events and generate leads. It is not sufficient to just state that you have a skill, you must be able to articulate your technique. Next, I explained why I aspired to work at NPR. I entered grad school with the goal of changing my career. In grad school, I gained the skills needed to work in the media industry but I wanted a substantial work experience to complete the transition. In my cover letter, I explained my motivations and incorporated my life experience as an asset to the position. This strategy has proven to be effective, not only with gaining a summer internship, but also in securing a full-time position. I will begin my new job with National Public Media’s marketing team in late August.
Describe some of your day-to-day duties and responsibilities. National Public Media is about as close as you’ll get to Mad Men under NPR’s roof. Some days, you must research audience data to help create a compelling case for a Fortune 500 to underwrite NPR’s excellent content. Other days, you are developing digital marketing research strategies for the new website. No two days are the same.
What’s your commute to NPR like? Metro, metro, metro. I’m staying in Georgetown, so I take a bus and then a train to get to the office. Altogether, it takes about 45 minutes to an hour. About the same as my commute via car in Austin.
Top three #NPRLife moments of your internship? Go.
1. Pop Culture Happy Hour Taping
2. Quetzal’s Tiny Desk Concert
3. Sitting in on Tell Me More’s editorial meetings
Favorite NPR show or podcast? Of course, I love TED Radio Hour, Radiolab and Snap Judgment, but I attended a Pop Culture Happy Hour taping while here this summer. I’m pretty much obsessed with Linda Holmes, Steven Thompson and the whole PCHH crew. My new dream in life is to be their best friend.
Favorite album or song right now? I’m still obsessed with Pharrell’s GIRL album but Nickel Creek’s A Dotted Line is kinda taking over my life.
What did you work on this summer? Most of my time was devoted to managing the post-launch content and analysis of the new National Public Media website. From assessing content, to analyzing website feedback, I ultimately presented the findings to the marketing team and helped develop an action plan to address content gaps. I also conducted audience research for underwriting proposals for executive-level presentations and managed NPM email communications for member stations.
Words of wisdom for future NPR interns?
1. Be friendly.
Always say hi to everyone, in the cafe, in the elevator or in the halls. Everyone here is very welcoming and interesting. My favorite moments have been sharing a moment with a random person and learning how their path led them to NPR.
2. Be kind.
This piece is especially for those of us not coming from an Ivy League school or name brand school. Sometimes, you will be humbled and amazed by your cohorts. Other times, you may be frustrated or annoyed. That’s life. The important thing is how you decide to react. Your behavior reflects your values. Be gentle when others make mistakes and be generous when others shine. Be determined to be gracious.
3. Be bold.
Enthusiastically complete your assignments and then ask for more work. When your supervisor gives you more work, exceed their expectations. Be determined to be the best intern they have ever had. Attend every Tiny Desk concert and eat lunch on the 4th floor terrace. Identify someone with the job that you want and invite them to lunch. Ask how their experiences led them to NPR and for advice on how to achieve your dreams. Show up to all the editorial meetings, even if you don’t work for that team or in that department. Introduce yourself to staffers doing cool or interesting work and don’t be afraid to tell them that you’re a fan. NPR staffers are passionate about their work and will appreciate your excitement. Interning at NPR is a once-in-lifetime experience, so embrace every single moment.
The Exit Through The (NPR) Gift Shop series is a continuous effort to showcase the diversity of young talent at NPR. Interviews were coordinated by Hugo Rojo. Photos by Colin Marshall.