Three soldiers from Fort Bragg spent the last two weeks of July 2022 at WRAL-TV, learning as part of an intern partnership between CBC/WRAL-TV and the Army base. Three members of Fort Bragg’s 3rd Battalion, Delta Group, Sgt. Aaron Wright and Specialists Christopher Harris and Colleen Kleponis, worked in departments from Creative Services to Production to Editing and Digital to see how the news comes together behind the scenes.
Corp Vice President of Social Responsibility Loretta Harper-Arnold explained how the internship opportunity came about.
“Back in February I received an email from Fort Bragg leadership asking if the station would consider a short-term internship experience for two to three of their soldiers currently working as Combat Documentation/Production Specialists and Visual Information Equipment Operator-Maintainers,” said Harper-Arnold. “After we discussed it internally, we agreed to schedule a two-week immersive training experience for three Fort Bragg soldiers. Leesa Moore in News took lead to create a cross departmental training schedule for the soldiers to ensure they were able to learn from our talented team members in Creative Services, News and Digital.”
WRAL-TV Director of New Operations, Sports & Special Projects Leesa Moore took the ball and ran with it.
“We immediately saw potential mutual benefit from the partnership,” she said. “Working with Combat Documentation/Production Specialists and Visual Information Equipment Operator-Maintainers we saw an opportunity to give the soldiers hands-on, civilian experience in our industry that they can apply to their fields in future projects. It also gave WRAL an opportunity to mentor and conduct outreach with active duty soldiers.”
Moore continued, “It has been a fabulous success on both sides! The interns were given intensive training in multiple aspects of broadcast news, digital media, and podcast and creative services production and we forged a relationship with some of the Army’s finest.”
She coordinated with various departments so the Ft. Bragg soldiers could focus on areas in which they had most interest. Moore also set up Meet and Greet luncheon where the interns could interact with CBC veterans in management roles. WRAL-TV IT Manager Aubrey Wood (US Army 1987-2013) and MCC Vice President & Manager Cyrus Wilson (US Army 1999-2003), both attended the luncheon to gather and talk with the soldiers about their experiences.
Hands-On Learning at WRAL
Various WRAL-TV departments hosted the interns during the two weeks.
“It’s difficult to share everything with do with anyone in a single day or a few days. It is both too short and too long,” WRAL Digital Director of Content Jodi Glusco. “It was educational for us to learn about the things the Fort Bragg soldiers were doing with media and to compare tools and processes.”
The soldiers both shadowed staffers and actively participated in hands-on learning.
“For two weeks I had the privilege of working with most of the Fort Bragg interns,” said WRAL-TV Promotion Producer II Merigrace Ramsey. “Colleen and I have been paired together almost every day of the program. Each day was different. Colleen was able to join our team on promotion shoots, assist for Sherri Shephard’s visit to WRAL, and even take part in our team building outing. She did not shy away from trying editing, writing, and shooting topicals herself.
Ramsey echoed the sentiment that she learned from the interns, as she shared her craft with them.
“It was a great experience to hear about her team in the army,” she said. “We serve different purposes, yet our team’s skill sets overlap in many ways. I feel like I learned a lot from her and vice a versa. The intern program was a great a experience. I hope WRAL continues this program in the future.”
Glusco was impressed with the soldiers.
“All three were willing to jump right in, asked smart questions and were able to work independently on the projects you will see on Capcom,” she said.
Glusco shared a slideshow and video package the interns put together during their time at WRAL-TV:
Specialist Colleen Kleponis shot this photo gallery:
Sgt. Aaron Wright shot and edited this video:
Capitol Broadcasting is enthusiastic about the promise this positive initial intern collaboration has created.
“I see our relationship with Fort Bragg as not only an important outreach opportunity to provide civilian sector training experience for active duty soldiers, but it also may support our long term recruitment strategy for those soldiers who have completed their service and are interested in transitioning to civilian jobs in the broadcasting field,” said Harper-Arnold. “Using that lens, this partnership really is a win-win for both Fort Bragg and CBC.”