After finding her last internship on the JMC-school’s icon, Sanders frequently checks back for future opportunities.
A little charisma can go a long way.
At least it did for Kim Sanders, a junior from Lansing, Il., who last Aug. landed a paid internship as a part-time news reporter at AM-800 KXIC radio station in Iowa City.
After an interview filled with sports talk and laughter, the producers of KXIC didn’t mind her lack of radio experience.
“They mentioned as long as I’m outgoing and charismatic, I’m good for the job,” Sanders said. “They are Cubs fans and I’m a Sox fan, so I poked a little fun and quickly earned the reputation in the newsroom of being sassy.”
Being a KXIC intern was a lot more than Sanders expected. In addition to conducting three to four interviews per shift in the studio, she also did field reporting, ran shows on-air by herself and operated the soundboard for wrestling, football and basketball games.
“When my supervisors told me what to do and threw me into it, it forced me to learn quickly,” Sanders said. “I made a lot of mistakes at first—in reporting, editing and board shifts—but it was a learning process that gave me a lot of real-world experience I probably wouldn’t have received at a larger radio station.”
For Sanders, a small station still meant exciting reporting. Not only did she cover Barack Obama’s visit to Iowa City, she was assigned to report on the midterm elections for her first field assignment. After the ballot box scanner malfunctioned, her boss told her to ask the auditor what happened and how they were going to handle the problem.
“In the midst of the hectic atmosphere of the auditor’s office at the moment, I was given the interview and finished the story on time,” Sanders said. “I felt pride and a sense of accomplishment. I couldn’t wait for my next assignment!”
For Sanders, the best part was meeting different people, not only through interviews, but in the newsroom. She considered both her co-workers and her bosses, News Director Joe Nugent and his replacement Brent Balbinot, as friends.
“Being the only female in the newsroom, I was outnumbered but never felt excluded,” Sanders said. “Sometimes, I swear, they must not have known I was in the room. I took it as a compliment though—I love that I was just one of the guys.
After six months of balancing school and the internship, scheduling conflicts became overwhelming. She felt pressure to do well both academically and at work, and after her high grades started slipping, she decided to leave KXIC.
“I loved the experience, but I came to Iowa City to go to school and graduate with honors and on time,” Sanders said. “I wish I could have done this job without being a full time student. I could have proven myself, but the time constraints and school work got in the way of that, which is disappointing in hindsight.”
Sanders is optimistic about the future. Her time at KXIC confirmed her desire to pursue broadcast journalism. She has two summer internship opportunities, WMMB and ESPN 1000, both radio stations in Chicago.
“I feel as though KXIC gave me the individual attention and training that I could not have gotten anywhere else,” Sanders said. “Now I want to take what I have learned and run with it.”
After graduation in May 2008, Sanders plans to move back to Chicago, where she feels there are more opportunities for broadcast journalists.
“I figure if I don’t go for that ‘unrealistic’ dream to be a famous broadcast journalist, then I’ll be kicking myself later,” Sanders said. “There is no harm in trying!”