By RACHEL LENZI
One of the highlights of Alex Tekip’s summer wasn’t going on a vacation or getting the chance to see a national landmark. Instead, it was getting name-checked on ESPN’s popular program “Baseball Tonight,” as she produced highlights for the nightly show.
Tekip gained that opportunity – and some national exposure – as one of six women selected for the Association for Women in Sports Media’s 2015 Internship/Scholarship program, which offers summer internships in print journalism, broadcast journalism, digital journalism and public relations. AWSM’s application period for the 2016 Internship/Scholarship program is open through Oct. 31.
A 2015 graduate of Michigan State University and a native of Royal Oak, Mich., Tekip was the co-vice president of communications for AWSM’s chapter at Michigan State and has a degree in journalism. She is a sports reporter with C & G Newspapers in metro Detroit.
How did you find out about the AWSM Internship/Scholarship program?
I was in Michigan State’s student chapter of AWSM for three years, and the first year I didn’t know much about it, but my second and third years [junior and senior years] I learned more.
I’d applied for the program every year, and applied for a public relations internship. My senior year, looking at all of my experience, I realized that I’m more aligned with something in broadcasting, or production or online and digital. I decided to switch and applied for the broadcasting internship – and I got it!
Joanne Gerstner [AWSM@MSU’s advisor] really stressed the program to all the members and told us as officers to stress it to our members. And I thought, if she stresses this, then I should consider it as well.
You were at ESPN this summer. What were your responsibilities as an intern?
I was basically treated like a full-time production assistant. I got to move around to different shows and they did a really good job of making it to be like I was a valued member of the company and of the staff. Regularly, I’d produce highlights for “SportsCenter” and “Baseball Tonight.” Being able to watch baseball highlights was A-plus!
I got to work with different shows and departments, and I had a lot of flexibility. I did Web Gems for “Baseball Tonight,” and they gave me a shoutout, and I went over to “His and Hers” and met Jemele Hill, who is a Michigan State alum.
I also helped out with ESPNW, editing videos that would be posted to web, and was there the day the United States Women’s National Team [soccer] was there and assisted with video shoot. I also helped on “Outside The Lines” and “College Football Live.”
I rotated shows and departments and got the full experience on ESPN. Being able to watch and take part in it was huge.
As a production assistant, you’re basically the middle ground between anchors, producers and actual games. You’re seeing the game as it happens and filter what goes on air and what doesn’t. You use your creative juices to find a way to show something. Ultimately, you help create, with help of a producer.
What, from your experience at ESPN, do you take back and apply to your career? Not just in AWSM but maybe academically or practically?
I figured out while I was there that I wasn’t sure what direction I wanted to take in my career. I knew the demands of being on air as a professional and they’re different. I did some writing work and hadn’t been exposed to digital before that. I loved being in the newsroom and in the digital department.
I know more about what compelling video is, how to illustrate it and how to make it compelling.
I always had a knack for writing. I’d love to combine the video skills with my love for writing, and pursue something in a digital manner.
Why would you encourage someone to apply for the AWSM internship/scholarship program?
My biggest thing is, you never know what’s going to happen. I ended up applying for this program because I thought, I might as well. I got a call from an ESPN recruiter and from Laken [Litman, AWSM’s internship coordinator], and it was like, this came out of nowhere!
First, there’s nothing you would regret about it. Whether you get a full-time job or decide, “I like this but want to pursue something else,” or, “I’m glad I did this,” you’ve got a big name company on your resume. It’s going to make you stand out.
You never know what kind of chances you have until you take that leap. The application wasn’t hard to fill out, either. Just by doing that, you could end up with the experience of a lifetime. The people you meet and the skills you build, I got to meet so many people face-to-face.
Being involved in an organization, it boosts your confidence.