Friday, September 29, 2006

The Celebrity Status

Becoming an intern at NPR was an unexpected but pleasant surprise for me this fall. As a recent graduate with a master’s degree, I suddenly found myself with a lot of time on my hands over the summer, and in between waiting for news from various jobs, I had a recurring idea: why not apply for an internship at NPR? It had always been something I wanted to do in college, but had always neglected to go through with—I think I was a little intimidated by the caliber of past interns in addition to having absolutely no background in journalism.

Of course, after getting the news that I had been accepted into NPR’s internship program, I immediately told everyone I knew. My family and my friends, all longtime NPR listeners, kept making me promise that I would update them with any interesting stories I had during my internship. So guys, this one’s for you.

Do you remember running into your teacher at the store and being so taken aback by the fact that they had actual lives outside of their job? In a sense, that is exactly how I felt the first time that Mara Liasson stopped by my desk. She was friendly and easygoing, although I’m sure she was wondering why I was mute for a good minute or so, but she was very gracious about it.

It never occurred to me that I would be on the exact same floor as people I had listened to or seen on television; that is I never really thought of what it’d be like to meet all of these famous people. Because of their “celebrity” status, it’s sometimes hard to remember that they too do normal things like shopping, or taking care of the kids. I used to think that it would be really intimidating to talk to someone who was famous, or that I would be seen as an annoying fan. But one thing I always keep in mind now, particularly after meeting Mara is that the celebrities here at NPR are extremely approachable and after getting past that moment of being starstruck, I learned that it was much easier getting to know them than I thought it would be. Plus, I’ve heard that an NPR reporter sees Karl Rove pretty regularly at his local grocery store, which once again reminds me that we all have lives outside of our jobs.

-Bertina Yu, Washington Desk/Intern Edition Blog Editor

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