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As a Mass Communication Major at the Abu Dhabi University, I needed to complete a six-week internship (2 July – 11 August) at the Dubai office of Al Ghad TV. The key objective of the internship was to expand the existing knowledge on the topic of operation of TV stations and what it takes to have a career in the sphere. From a personal perspective, I wanted to enhance my skills in strategic planning and communication, so the internship at a TV station was an appropriate setting to reach this objective. With the background knowledge that I have acquired during my university studies, the internship was a great opportunity for me to apply it to professional backgrounds.
Al Ghad TV was an appropriate setting for me as a Communication Major because the company has only started to gain momentum and therefore is very innovative in expanding its coverage across Arabic countries. Despite being young, the TV station is well-respected by the public. All of my experiences as an intern at Al Ghad TV were fully documented in order to preserve the accounts of the skills I gained, knowledge and advice that I received, as well as tasks that I performed. Therefore, this report offers a summary of my notes as related to the intern work at the TV station.
Background of the Company
Al Ghad TV is a young pan-Arab news channel that was officially launched in 2015 in Cairo, which means that its key operations come from Egypt. However, the initial operations of the station began in 2013, when the channel started its broadcasts from London. The TV station is led by Abdel Latif Fouad El-Menawy, an Egyptian author, journalist, and the former CEO of Egypt’s News Center. El-Menawy is known for his book Tahrir – The Last 18 Days of Mubarak, which is the recollection of the author as an eyewitness to the events associated with the step-down of Hosni Mubarak, Egypt’s former president.
Therefore, being led by a prominent journalist with years of experience in the field, Al Ghad TV has immense potential in the field of news reporting. The mission of the organization is to deliver timely and unbiased news to the Arabic population worldwide. The vision statement is capturing the most important moments in the history and uniting viewers under the message of social responsibility and community engagement.
When I first arrived at the Al Ghad TV office in Dubai, I was greeted by my supervisor, Zahia Al Zaeem, who suggested to conduct a preliminary interview to get me acquainted with the company and my future experience as an intern. The overall orientation took three days, during which I made sure to get as much information as possible about how the station operates and how I would integrate into the hectic environment. For me, acquiring new skills and knowledge was a priority, especially in terms of strategic planning and communication.
During my orientation, I got to know all the employees in the office and offered my help in exchange for their knowledge and expertise. It was especially interesting to communicate with Information Technology workers who were responsible for maintaining the work of the Avid Media Central Platform, which the station used for optimizing the workflow, connecting with other Al Ghad TV locations, or even completing post-production tasks. For me personally, this information was useful for understanding that the station adhered to the latest trends in media management and production as well as strategic planning.
Activities Involved in the Internship
During my work as an intern at Al Ghad TV, my supervisor made sure that all assignments and activities given to me would enhance my strategic planning and communication skills. While some of them were simple and mundane, the tasks gave me more confidence as a mass communication specialist to be more proactive. The list of the assigned responsibilities is presented below.
- Assist workers in research, including the pre-production of news media clips.
- Help edit and proofread transcripts that presenters use during shoots and live sessions.
- Work behind the scenes at shoots by providing presenters with news report scripts, give feedback on the quality of presentation, and help develop schedules for the shoots.
- Help with the composition of news logs and transcripts for post-production.
- Be active in the development of Al Ghad TV statements disseminated on social media and the company’s website.
- Handle the general correspondence between the station’s head offices and its subdivision in Dubai.
- Monitor the feedback from the public about the quality of the station’s news presentation and reporting both positive and negative reviews to the supervisors.
In the beginning, I felt intimidated by the environment at Al Ghad TV because all the workers were very busy and did not pay much attention to the new intern. However, in the first week of working at the station, I understood the workflow: while everyone is always busy and on-the-go, helping others and getting assignments done as a team was the key value of the company. Other employees of any rank (ranging from the high management to simple assistants) were very helpful in explaining how news is being prepared and produced with minimum time wasted.
My knowledge has been expanded tremendously, especially in terms of using all available technologies to my advantage. I got familiar with the Media Central Platform for strategically planning my content, making it easier for myself and my temporary colleagues to retrieve the necessary information through several storage tiers for repurposing and reusing. By streamlining information, I learned how to manage my time effectively. Time management was the most important thing that my supervisor, Zahia Al Zaeem, taught me. I was encouraged to focus on ‘hot’ tasks that needed to be completed as soon as possible while reserving some free time to learn more about the station and observe how other employees worked.
Relationship with the Supervisor
I am very thankful to my supervisor, Zahia Al Zaeem, who acted as my mentor and was always willing to answer my questions and helped me to accumulate in the team. At the beginning of each week, Zahia communicated her plans in terms of my internship objectives, which was very useful for me as a new person at the office. Zahia took the role of my mentor and a guide, and I am very grateful for that. Of course, there were some cases of misunderstanding. For instance, I sent some correspondence to a wrong email address, and there was some confusion as to why the person who expected a letter as soon as possible did not receive it. Zahia was very calm in this situation and took the responsibility on herself, which surprised me because I was the one to blame.
After completing the internship, I stayed in touch with Zahia because having an acquaintance in the sphere of TV media is always an advantage. It is possible that Al Ghad TV will look for new employees on a long-term basis and I could be a viable candidate because I am already familiar with the company. Overall, I was very lucky to foster fruitful relationships with my supervisor, and I hope that the example that she has set allows me to become a suitable supervisor for interns when I get a job in the future.
When working for six weeks at Al Ghad TV, I discovered some interesting things about how the company operates. To function properly, the station relies on centralized archiving and collaboration between its subdivisions (subs) for the ease of operational management. When implemented correctly, the company’s workflows and operational integration make it possible for the station to share information among it subs. My supervisor, Zahia Al Zaeem, mentioned that the Al Ghad TV station in Cairo was developed on the basis of a system that enabled the quick collaboration with the London station through the Avid Everywhere platform. This knowledge was important to add to my strategic communication background because the station’s management invested time and efforts into establishing an effective system of teamwork through careful planning.
When interacting with the station’s workers and getting to know more about how Al Ghad TV operates, I also discovered that the integration of the latest technologies allowed everyone to simplify their everyday tasks. For example, the Media Central Platform made it possible for the news channel to simplify and streamline the existing workflows through integrating all available services and products into one comprehensive platform. This framework is customizable and effective in improving the station’s orchestration capabilities in order to sustain the entire value chain of independent news media. Also, it should be mentioned that all content creators and distributors that collaborated with Al Ghad TV used the framework for delivering and monetizing their contributions via a set of standardized procedures. The knowledge of the framework allowed me to look more critically at the process of strategic planning. I understood that the simplification and the unification of the workflow could add value to organizations of any scope and professionalism.
Week 1 (July 2-6): Introduction.
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An introductory conversation with the supervisor, getting a work spot at the office.
Introducing myself to the rest of the employees, completing an office tour.
Being assigned proofreading and editing tasks.
Visiting the station’s website, social media, formulating suggestions for improvement.
Do’s: research the station on the Internet, read about its CEO, understand Al Ghad TV’s values and aims, ask questions if there is anything I do not understand.
Don’ts: get in the way of other employees’ work.
Week 2 (July 9-13): Getting to work.
- A brief overview of the plan for the week with the supervisor.
- The main task of handling correspondence between the head office and the subdivision at Dubai.
- Completing editing and proofreading assignments.
Do’s: be proactive in asking others about any help they may need, refer back to the supervisor if all assignments have been completed.
Don’ts: rush the tasks by sacrificing the quality of completion.
Week 3 (July 16-20): Becoming a team member.
- Participating in a team briefing at the beginning of the week to set objectives for the station.
- Helping presenters prepare for live recordings by handing out transcripts.
- Composing social media posts to report on the recent news.
- Planning news headlines.
Do’s: engage the team and seek advice on planning and time management, be quick in completing urgent assignments.
Don’ts: hesitate to ask questions and be negative toward constructive criticism.
Week 4 (July 23-27) and Week 5 (July 30-August 3): Full-time internship
- Taking part in weekly briefings, presenting my own plan for the week.
- Facilitate the preparation of presenters for live recordings.
- Post Al Ghad TV social media posts.
- Managing correspondence between the head office and the office in Dubai.
- Sending out schedules developed by the manager to the department’s employees.
- Engaging in the conversation with the station’s viewers and followers to get feedback on presentation quality.
- Researching recent news to prepare them for further issuing and reporting.
- Managing the post-production of the news.
Do’s: seek feedback on my work, ask for advice on how to improve my work at the station.
Don’ts: be afraid of answering calls or communicating with TV presenters.
Week 6 (August 6-10): Conclusion of the experience.
- Reporting information learned/skills received during the last team meeting.
- Getting feedback on my work from other employees.
- Discussing the impact of the internship with my supervisor.
- Helping with any tasks when needed.
Do’s: be honest when reporting my experience of being an intern at Al Ghad TV.
Don’ts: not asking any questions and not thanking the team for their collaboration.