Successful first summer for WDET’s enhanced internship program

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This summer included the successful first semester of WDET’s enhanced internship program. Funded largely by a grant from General Motors (GM), students are now paid for their work in the summer internship that focuses on all aspects of broadcasting and career development within the field. The program included nine students from Wayne State and other universities in Michigan, who all share a passion for broadcasting. This year’s cohort came from Dearborn, Sterling Heights, Roseville, Detroit, Howell, Hamtramck and Warren.

Autumn Bryant
     Autumn Bryant

Autumn Bryant, a senior in Wayne State’s Department of Communication majoring in journalism and broadcasting, is grateful for the industry knowledge gained from the internship. “The program has encouraged me,” Autumn said. “It’s been hard to get internships, and this one is very informative and hands-on. We do exercises each week where I’ll be given a sample transcript or sound bite and create several stories around them. I feel that is helpful in my progression to a career in the industry.”

The power of internships and their impact on students’ lives motivates GM’s support. “We’re proud to collaborate with WDET on this internship program to help give students real-world experience in the ever-changing media landscape,” said Terry Rhadigan, vice president of corporate giving at GM. “The GM Communications team knows firsthand the invaluable experience internships provide to prospective employees, and we hope the program empowers these students to pursue careers right here in Detroit.”

Mary Zatina, general manager of WDET, welcomes the program’s growth. “Former WDET interns are working in media all over the country, but we have finally been able to make an essential improvement in the program,” Zatina said. “Shortcomings in diversity, inclusion and equity take many forms. At WDET we realized we needed to offer payment to interns in order to level the playing field for all potential applicants. The next generation of media professionals will be more inclusive and better thanks to the generosity of our funders who are making paid internships possible.”

In addition to major support from General Motors, funding for WDET’s internship program has come from the Ralph L. and Winifred E. Polk Foundation, the Clarence and Jack Himmel Foundation, and Verizon.

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