Billy Joel sang about taking a Greyhound on the Hudson River line to put him in a New York state of mind. Christina Crane was able to get into the same state of mind when she took a ride on the New York State Thruway to do a television internship in the Big Apple last summer.
Crane, who received her bachelor's degree in communication studies from Niagara in 2009, was awarded the unique opportunity to work at WCBS-TV, the local CBS television affiliate in New York City, through a Niagara connection she made earlier this year. In February, 10 communication studies students were invited to a luncheon with Peter Dunn, '81, the president and general manager of WCBS. At the lunch, he emphasized the importance of internships and offered Niagara students the opportunity to work at the station.
Crane, who had already completed a few internships, including one at Buffalo's CBS affiliate, WIVB-TV, applied for the internship. "I knew how valuable they were," she says. "That, and the idea of living and working New York City were too good to pass up." Her application was accepted, and after graduation she was on her way to New York City.
Upon arriving at WCBS, Crane dove right into work. "It was a whole new world," she says. "Within the first week, I was doing online research for stories and had to create a Twitter account as well." The social media tool is now becoming a way to get a leg up on breaking news in the industry, Crane says. Ever the eager pupil, she volunteered to go out on stories with reporters to gain more experience. "I didn't care if it was 3 a.m.," she says. "I'm the type of person that doesn't like to sit behind a desk all day."
Crane hit the streets on stories with Magee Hickey, a veteran New York City reporter, and Emmy-award winning journalist Jay Dow, doing whatever was necessary to assist them so that she could learn from some of the best. "I soaked in whatever they told me," she says.
The summer of 2009 was filled with memorable news events, including the Bernard Madoff sentencing and the death of Michael Jackson. Crane saw the reaction to both first-hand. She compares the line to get into the Madoff courtroom to waiting for a very exciting ride at a theme park.
"The courtroom only has so many seats," she says. ""You are shoulder to shoulder with people and to hear, ‘you are sentenced to 150 years,' was striking. No one else knew the verdict until we left the courtroom."
Crane was on hand at the Apollo Theater in Harlem, N.Y., the day "The King of Pop" died. "People were crying and others were singing his songs," she says. "It was a celebration, but also a mourning."
Crane's whole experience as an intern at WCBS was filled with many great lessons. "I learned that you have to be determined and stand out," she says. As an intern, you cannot just sit back because you will not be remembered, she adds, and it is important to listen to those that have the experience in the industry.
"Never say you don't want to do something or not go out on a story," she says, "because you don't know the opportunities you are going to miss."