In an informal survey of Hunter students interning in newsrooms this semester, three of the four who replied said they were able to transition their internship to a home setting after the coronavirus outbreak.
In the case of senior Sudeepa Singh, she has been working at CBS News’ 60 Minutes from home for about two weeks now, after COVID-19 turned up at CBS News offices and the operation was forced to temporarily close down. She adds, though, “It’s good to know that everyone is distanced and able to stay healthy.”
“[I]t’s amazing to see everything still airing successfully.”
— Hunter student intern Sudeepa Singh
Singh says, however, that she is still adjusting. “Having to produce a broadcast television show remotely is not a situation that anyone expected, and it’s amazing to see everything still airing successfully.”
Like journalism students at Hunter, interns also adjusted their beats to tie into the pandemic. “With the news cycle changing so constantly and everyone’s slate of stories being adjusted, the pace is very different.”
“My body feels better when it moves, which I haven’t been able to do much of.”
— Hunter student intern Elizabeth Jankovic
Interning remotely at The Artist Co-op, a coworking space for artists, student Elizabeth Jankovic misses being able to be more active.
“I hate the fact that I’m physically moving much less and have been more sedentary,” she says. “My body feels better when it moves, which I haven’t been able to do much of.”
But Jankovic enjoys working from home at least a little bit: “I thrive in my own space and when I am alone, … versus when I’m in distracting environments.”
She concedes, though, “I think having in-person connections with co-workers adds value that working from home lacks. It’s easier to communicate in-person than over the phone. It’s definitely harder to create structure when working from home.”
“It’s just easier to go run to someone’s desk and quickly run things by them without waiting for a reply.”
— Hunter student intern Madelle Tabunda
Madelle Tabunda, who’s continuing to intern at Investigation Discovery from home, agrees with Jankovic on preferring in-person connections.
“I would say that working in an office as opposed to working from home is more ideal to me … It’s just easier to go run to someone’s desk and quickly run things by them without waiting for a reply,” she explains. “I just find that surrounding myself with co-workers motivates me more and keeps me on my toes.”
One of Tabunda’s biggest struggles has been her internet connection and adjusting to virtual communication.
The worst part? She can’t have two screens at home as she does at work, where she can use her laptop and desktop in split-screen mode to have more room to work and multitask.
“I was able to do a lot during my time there and I’m so grateful for that.”
— Hunter student intern Melissa Lent
But other interns have not been able to even finish their internships. Melissa Lent at WNBC’s Better Get Baquero team, a consumer unit that reports on stories about companies or products that consumers may have issues with, had her internship cut short due to the coronavirus outbreak.
“I started my internship on January 13 and left March 13, promptly after they started distance learning at Hunter,” recalls Lent, noting, “I was able to do a lot during my time there and I’m so grateful for that.”
She adds that while she was saddened that her experience was cut short, “I understand why it was necessary for the health of everyone.”
There is at least one bright side to working from home, for those who are able to, according to Tabunda: loose requirements on work attire.
“I enjoy having free reign on what sweats I can pair my work top with,” she says with a laugh.