You (obviously) follow us on Tumblr and probably (hopefully) on Twitter, but are you following us on Instagram? It’s curated by multimedia interns Dan Turner, Marie McGrory, Lizzie Chen, Gabriella Demczuk and Gabriella Garcia-Pardo (and really fantastic photographers, if I do say so myself).
We have just three weeks left in our internships, so expect some crunch-time posting. We’ve accomplished a lot, but much more to come. And to those of you joining NPR in the summer, here’s a peek into #nprinternlife and what to look forward to.
-Lizzy Duffy, social media intern
“What am I doing today? Just hanging out in the NPR booth with Ari Shapiro at the White House.” -Letese Clark, Washington Desk intern
“And heading to our new offices! Day two of this special edition of the Tiny Desk Concert continues at 1111 N. Capitol!” -Lorie Liebig, All Songs Considered intern
When I arrived at the Supreme Court press room on Tuesday morning around 9 a.m., the room was buzzing with excitement. There were local TV news anchors, national TV reporters, print journalists, web journalists, you name it. Many of the reporters only cover the Court during major hearings, so everyone was chit-chatting and excited about who’s at the oral argument. On Tuesday, I was in line for security behind Gavin Newsom, Lt. Governor of California and former San Francisco Mayor!
The staff had us line up according to our assigned seats and led us upstairs to the courtroom. The courtroom was packed to the ceiling. We waited in our seats until the clock struck 10, at which point the Justices came out and Chief Justice John Roberts called the Court to session.
As an intern, I sat with other press members in the corridor area behind those columns, on the left side of the courtroom. Most of us in the corridor see nothing — the only thing we can see are the big white columns. The seating was very cramped. I think they managed to pack around 70 reporters into the rather narrow hallway. It might have been a fire hazard, but no one complained.
After announcing its opinions, the Court entertained motions to admit lawyers into the Supreme Court bar.
This is a ceremony that happens almost every time the Court hears oral arguments. An existing member of the Supreme Court bar gets up, introduces the lawyer or lawyers that wish to join the Supreme Court bar, says the lawyer possesses the necessary qualifications to be admitted and the Chief grants the motion to admit. AP did a pretty interesting post on the subject of joining the Supreme Court bar.
The Chief called the first lawyer to the lectern. Everyone in the press section started taking notes furiously. For these two cases, because the Supreme Court was releasing same-day audio, I noted the time as the Justices and lawyers spoke as I wrote down what I could. The mood in the courtroom was serious, but you could feel an invisible level of energy in the room.
Once oral argument finished, Nina and I came downstairs, met up with producer Brakkton Booker and hurried into a reporting booth where Nina gave the NPR newscast team a quick lowdown of what happened in the courtroom.
Nina and I then came back to our NPR office to start working on a piece for All Things Considered. We compared notes on what was said during oral argument and she started picking out quotes that she wanted to use. While we were doing this, the transcript came in and we started getting more specific. Nina quickly started to write her script. She worked furiously with me and a producer to cut audio clips from the Court’s recording, and around 3:30 or 4 p.m., she was done with her script. She went in to record and her pieces were on the air in time for the second hour of All Things Considered! Listen here.
While she was recording the on-air pieces, I started editing the on-air scripts for the web. But work wasn’t done yet, since for both days, Nina had to do on air pieces for the morning show. We worked into the evening and eventually we got them done. Very long days, but once-in-a-lifetime experiences that I’m sure I won’t soon forget.
- Angela Chang, intern to Nina Totenberg
As NPR churned out coverage of the Supreme Court’s same-sex marriage cases, NPR interns worked behind the scenes. Washington Desk intern Kara Brandeisky describes what it was like to cover the rallies outside.
Day 1: Proposition 8
When I arrived at the Supreme Court around 8:15 a.m. on Tuesday morning, the place was already packed and tense. Some people were waiting in line to see oral arguments, others were getting ready to rally in support of gay marriage and some were just mulling around, hoping to catch a piece of history. I was there to interview supporters of Proposition 8, preferably from California.
At first, opponents of same-sex marriage were hard to find. I only saw one small group from Rhode Island and another group from the Westboro Baptist Church. As I spoke with political correspondent Don Gonyea, an argument erupted between a same-sex marriage supporter and a Westboro member. I quickly pulled out my equipment to record their conversation. And I was lucky to be at the right place at the right time — within minutes, several reporters swarmed the scene.
Afterward, I caught up with Anthony Robledo one-on-one who challenged the Westboro member. He was part of a group that arrived two nights earlier to secure the main space in front of the Court for same-sex marriage supporters. But his group wasn’t the only early arrival.
By the time the Proposition 8 supporters arrived with the March for Marriage, same-sex marriage supporters were lining both sides of the street, sandwiching the Proposition 8 supporters. Police on motorcycles kept riding through, sirens blaring, trying to clear a path. Protesters and supporters alike chanted at the same time their separate messages, in a strange kind of harmony: “What do we want? Equality! When do we want it? Now!” and “One man, one woman! One man, one woman!”
Reporters stood in the street between the two sides, recording and observing the interactions. Eventually the March for Marriage moved on to the National Mall. Don covered their rally for Morning Edition, and he used some of my tape in his story.
After the lawyers came out and spoke, I headed back to the office to help Carrie Johnson pull tape from the oral arguments. Here’s her story from All Things Considered on Tuesday. Then it was time to prepare for the next day.
- Kara Brandeisky, Washington Desk intern
Working in the NPR Music office is as cool as it sounds: I’m constantly surrounded by new and unreleased music, incredibly cool people and the Tiny Desk Concerts play out literally right in front of me. From my very first day in the office, I heard about the upcoming South By Southwest Music Festival, and how it would be an incredibly chaotic time for all of us music interns. This internship has flown by, and today I woke up with the first day of the festival waiting to be published about.
I got into the office before anyone else in the department, at 7 in the morning. The sun wasn’t even up yet; I fired up my computer and listened to the podcast that the All Songs Considered gang (Bob Boilen, Robin Hilton, Stephen Thompson and Ann Powers) had recorded from Austin just a couple of hours before.
Just as the sun was coming up on 7th and Mass Ave.
The next couple of hours was spent trying to work out the kinks. We had to wait for photographers to send us images for the post, we had to wait for the actual audio to be encoded, and work out what exactly we wanted to say in the post. South By Southwest is such a huge festival that it’s hard to remember sometimes that most average people don’t know exactly what it is, and that had to be conveyed in the copy. I wrote it up, went over it with my editor to smooth it out, and we made our 10 A.M. deadline with a few minutes to spare.
I spent the rest of the day relaying content sent from the guys on the ground to our social media feeds. I uploaded photos and video as quickly as I could so even the readers who weren’t in Austin, Texas could feel like they were part of the story. Although challenging and chaotic at times, the day went by in a flash and I knew what I was doing was making a big impact.
The amount of feedback we were receiving from just a few photos or video uploads was overwhelmingly positive and encouraging. I’ll be back in the office again early tomorrow morning to see the sunrise from the empty NPR Music offices, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.
-Lorie Liebig, All Songs Considered intern
Meet the Winter/Spring 2013 Interns #NPRinternlife