Shorter University senior communication arts major Caleb Britt is in his last year of undergraduate studies after having the opportunity of a lifetime.
Britt, of Newnan, Ga., spent his summer as a paid intern at WSB-TV Channel 2 Action News, which is Atlanta’s ABC affiliate.
He hit the ground running after the intern orientation, working at the assignment desk, where he answered phone calls from people in the community, and preparing scripts for noon newscast anchors, Fred Blankenship and Carol Sbarge. In his first week, he also began to shadow reporters and experience what they do on a day-to-day basis.
One reporter who had a great influence on him was Nicole Carr, who has been working in the journalism field since 2005 and has worked at stations in Greensboro, N.C., and Nashville, Tenn.
“Some interns just get it. They understand what it takes to be a part of the daily grind.” Carr said. “They have the passion and determination to succeed, and they’re smart enough to ‘know what they don’t know.’ That’s Caleb.”
Britt shadowed Carr from the start to the end of the day. He attended the morning meeting where the reporters pitch their stories and followed along as Carr secured interviews and began working on her story to go on-air.
“Nicole is a true representation of hard work and excellence. She never allowed anything to stand in her way of getting the story,” Britt said.
Britt shadowed Carr as she covered stories including the drought in Cherokee County, a homicide in Fulton County, and the shooting of a 19-year-old by his stepfather.
“Caleb is always willing to learn and help. No task was too mundane or enormous for him to take on. He moved through those tasks with a professional, determined attitude, not to mention he’s just a good person. He has a light that shines,” Carr said.
Britt enjoyed shadowing Carr and experiencing her daily routine. Britt’s days in the field were long and fast-paced.
“Caleb was able to witness a number of field experiences that just can’t be taught in the classroom. Whether we ran around for hours to land that one interview, or perhaps it was witnessing the technical difficulties of going live in a rural area, Caleb was able to see how you overcome daily, logistical challenges and get that story on-air,” Carr said.
Along with shadowing reporters, Britt had the opportunity to volunteer at the Southeastern Emmy Awards. He helped with setup and check-in. In addition, he was a “star chaser,” which required him to find the presenters and walk them backstage to get prepared to go on stage.
While there, Britt had the opportunity to meet a lot of people in the news and television business, including Brenda Wood and Karyn Greer, both journalists he said he has admired since he was a young boy.
“They were so nice and gave me a lot of great advice as I move forward into my career,” he said.
He also participated in WSB’s prime-time special “Atlanta Unite!,” a forum that brought community leaders together to discuss local and national protests and community issues and concerns.
Both events served as an eye-opener to Britt and greatly influenced him.
“I learned that this business not only takes hard work and perseverance, but also a heart for the community and its needs,” he said.
Britt was grateful for the opportunities that were presented to him. He believes his internship was more than what he expected.
“My summer experience truly showed me that God is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that I ask or think,” Britt said.
Britt left his internship with memories, experiences that helped him to grow personally and as a journalist. Also, he is grateful for mentors like Carr who invested in him and gave him advice and tips that he needs to be a successful journalist. Carr also inspired Britt to join the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ), of which he is excited to be a member.
“I’m very proud of Caleb. He is someone I expect to work with in the future. That’s when he’ll make me feel old… when we have the ‘Remember when you were an intern?’ conversation. On a serious note, Caleb is the epitome of the sponge you want to mentor. He is someone who will soak it all in and evolve due to his experiences. This is an ever-evolving industry. Caleb’s flexibility, attitude and talent will take him far in this business.”
Britt is the son of Mac and Trina Britt of Newnan. He is a 2013 graduate of Newnan High School. He is serving in his second year as president of Shorter’s Student Government Association and is a resident assistant, a participant in Shorter’s Honors Academy, and a member of Delta Sigma Phi fraternity and the Order of Omega honor society. He also was elected Shorter’s homecoming king.