Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Week 1 internship highlights

I looked at the security's counter through the glass doors helplessly, making a box signal with my thumbs and forefingers. They signaled back to put a card on the sensor before me. Just having sneaked through the automatic door after someone came in, I found myself stuck between the turnstile and the door behind me. They finally got the message and let me inside the building. Inside the lobby I waited for an hour. I found out later most of the staff in the English department time in after 9 a.m. I killed my time by enjoying the free wifi in the lobby and browsing a book (Crowdsourcing by Jeff Howe). Soon a bubbly lady with an Australian accent picked me up. My internship has begun.

On my first day I was given a quick tour of the building. Despite its labyrinthine halls and doors that open to more mazes, I only have to remember the essential passageways to the toilet, main entrance/exit, and the cafeteria. The cafeteria, which deserves a different story in itself, is supposed to be one of the best in Germany, serving food of four-star gastronomic quality, yet four times as cheap as you would pay for in a restaurant. Suffice it to say it has won several corporate-cafeteria contests. Last week's menu included rabbit 'drumsticks,' breaded fish fillet, and pasta. My narrow knowledge of the buildings' passageways proved not to be enough on the days that followed. I needed to go through one office to another, while getting lost along the way, for various reasons from accomplishing other administrative documents to picking up an audio recorder and a microphone.

Let's meet my co-workers, and forget about getting lost for the mean time. Cheryl, the Ozzie lady who picked me up, is a freelancer. It turns out she is just one of the handful Ozzies around. I met Eva, also a freelancer, and a couple more of other people who I presume to be from Down Under based on their accents. My roommate, Rick, is most probably from the States. Margrethe, who gave me the tour, is from Norway. My boss, Irene, hails from Scotland. The multinationality doesn't end in the English department. Scan around the main halls or the cafeteria and for sure you won't miss the spectrum of color and rich linguistic diversity.

Once I was all set, my first task was to search for news clips on the wires, and rewrite them for the radio. That same afternoon, I tagged along with Rajiv, a radio veteran. I watched and listened to him to him breeze through his script during production time. He had to do another take on a couple of sentences though, because he didn't find them satisfactory. To my untrained ears, it was flawless.

I received my first lesson in rewriting news bits when I saw the final copy for production last Wednesday. Make it simpler and sound more conversational. The Living Planet team for that week, composed of my chief Irene, Cheryl, and I went to the recording studio to produce the programme to be aired the next day. (Listen to it here.) Earlier that day, I went to my first field assignment with Eva to the Köln-Bonn Airport. There we attended a press conference about these ATM-like machines to be scattered in the secured area of the airport for voluntary CO2 compensation of plane passengers. Afterwhich we interviewed the panel consisting of the head of the project consultant and the CEO of the airport himself. Listen to the report here.

That's my first week with Deutsche Welle in a nutshell. This week I conducted my first interview- alone! Stay tuned for more of my internship inklings.

Week 2 is still running. If you can't wait, browse through recent entries for quick updates!
Many thanks to Christianna A. for my photo above.

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