A Postcard From: Christina Stella ’17

13479525_10153892628528409_769570263_nName: Christina Stella

Year: 2017

Major: Independent Film and Media Studies

Internship Placement: Atlantic Public Media, Woods Hole, Massachusetts

What’s happening? We’d love to hear how your internship is going.

Things are going so great. I could type for days, but I won’t, because I have some scary close work deadlines. Living on Cape Cod is an incredibly bizarre experience because Cape Cod is an incredibly bizarre place. Which, frankly, makes my job a lot easier.

This summer, I’m interning for Atlantic Public Media in Woods Hole, Massachusetts. APM is basically a big steaming pot of Public Radio Stew—they manage, develop, and produce multiple different projects in radio under multiple different names. I’ll say more about that later. As for my internship, it’s my job to travel around the Cape, stick a microphone in strangers’ faces, and make stories out of what I find. I also produce pieces for WCAI’s (NPR for the Cape, Coast and Islands) Creative Life Series. I’ve found some pretty zany people along the way. For example, I’m working on a piece about a local dude who makes inventions out of old broken bicycles he steals from the dump. That’s fun. Another is about a glassblower who refuses to be called an artist and fought me for an hour over it. Anything I make gets played on NPR to the delight, dismay, and apathy of our listeners. I am living The Actual Dream with My Actual Personal Rockstars. Sometimes I still cry about it while biking ocean-side to the station, and no, it’s not from the salty air.

How I heard about my internship:

So, about the Radio Stew. I learned about Atlantic Public Media because I listen religiously to a few programs from their sub-project PRX, also known as the Public Radio Exchange. The Exchange globally distributes thousands of programs online like This American Life and The Moth Radio Hour so you can listen with your coffee, laundry, or long car ride (for free!). When I looked up their website, I discovered that APM also manages Transom.org, which is a showcase and workshop for new public radio production—a website I read articles on all the time written by producers like Ira Glass, Sarah Koenig, and Al Letson. But it all really clicked when I was listening to an interview with one of my favorite producers, Bianca Giaever, who mentioned having interned with them. 

My advice on finding an internship:

The best way to find an internship is by being a present, curious person. That might SOUND like it means a whole lot of nothing, but it’s actually our greatest asset as young people looking for experience.

  1. Ask yourself, what do you find interesting about this world? Is there anything you want to learn more about? Be honest and specific. Give yourself permission to dream.
  2. Read up on The Thing. Google is your best friend. Don’t reach out until you already have basic information.
  3. Find people who are Doing That Thing (or know somebody!) and talk to them. You have nothing to lose. An email or phone call has yet to kill anybody.

I think we sometimes kid ourselves into believing that one opportunity, one summer, one position will make or break us as young professionals. Wrong. Last year, I was rejected from every internship I applied to. This year, APM’s website didn’t even say anything about internships being offered. I’m here because of one timid email—a whim. And the fields? Completely different.

Why I Applied:

I applied because I knew I loved documentary radio but needed help transitioning from listener to producer. I wanted to be around people who cared about their craft and wanted to help others who care, too, and that has very much been my experience. A simple answer, but it stems from the essence of my above advice.

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