When Natalie Joseph walked into the iHeartMedia offices in Los Angeles earlier this summer, she was greeted as a sort of mini-celebrity.
"You’re NatJo!" exclaimed her co-workers. "We love your radio show."
Joseph was admittedly a little taken aback. She had touted her experience as a DJ on WMLU—The NatJo Show has been a night staple on the Longwood radio station for the last year—in a lengthy interview process for a coveted and highly competitive internship at one of the nation’s largest media companies, but had no idea her new co-workers would tune in.
"It was that experience that I think really opened the doors at iHeartMedia for me," said Joseph ’16, a communication studies major from Yorktown. "I’m grateful that I have the opportunity to learn by doing at Longwood, and that’s paid off here. From working a producer’s board to editing sound, I had done all of those things before and it really gave me a leg up when I arrived in Los Angeles."
Even with that experience, Joseph has been thrown into the deep end of the communications world during her internship. From writing music reviews to representing stations at events around the city to running board operations for live shows at REAL FM, L.A.’s No. 1 hip-hop station, the internship has been a whirlwind of activity and learning. She’s even recorded bumpers—short clips to air between segments—and voice overs that air on KIIS FM, one of the most popular stations in the country.
"Every day is something different, and it’s all been amazing," she said. "We go through departmental rotations to find what each person is really passionate about. Right now I’m working in programming—which has allowed me to work on live shows at stations like KIIS FM—and soon I’ll be moving over to marketing and promotions."
In a job like this, though, Joseph isn’t the only celebrity in town. Part of her internship requires her to work performances at the iHeartRadio Theater LA, where she has seen chart-topping artists like Chris Brown, T.I. and Of Monsters and Men perform live. Not a bad gig if you can get it—and getting it is usually the most difficult part.
The fact that she landed the internship is a testament to Joseph’s will and personality. "I told myself that I was going to get an internship in either New York or Los Angeles—the two largest media markets in the country," she said. "It took a month and four interviews, but I was able to show them that I had a good understanding of communications principles—things I had learned in class—and the practical knowledge that I gained from working at WMLU."
Longwood requires all students to complete an internship or other hands-on learning experience in their field of study before graduation. Internships are exceptional ways for students to apply and test their academic knowledge in a practical setting in addition to gaining valuable professional experience before entering the job market.
For Joseph, the opportunity to work at one of the nation’s largest media companies is exactly that experience, and she hopes it will help her land a position in communications after her senior year. "I’ve learned so much, and I realized that this is exactly the profession that I want to pursue," she said.
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