Mike Waring, LS&A ‘74
Director, U-M Washington Office
After two years at Michigan as a journalism major, I heard about and was accepted into the Public Service Intern Program for the summer of 1972. As a resident of the DC suburbs, having a summer internship in DC was very convenient. I would just take the bus into the city each day from home, or drive one of my parents’ cars on occasion. While the commute was usually not too bad, I unfortunately did not get to meet the other PSIPers who were living together, including (unbeknownst to me) my current boss at Michigan. Small world.
Regardless, my experience working in the newsroom of WTTG-TV was amazing. I was able to help assemble stories for their noon newscast, and also help with things like graphics. I watched a presidential statement and then worked with the technical people to pull off a piece that would be shown on-air. I even got asked to go with a camera crew on two occasions and ask questions of interviewees from off-camera…a practice which halted once the union shop steward found out.
Anyway, that experience helped confirm my career path in TV/radio news and helped lead to my first job in broadcasting after graduation. There were some big events that occurred that summer, most notably Tropical Storm Agnes which hit the DC area with heavy rain and flooding. There were numerous fatalities and millions of dollars in property damage. One day, I hitched a ride to work with another employee of the station who lived near my family because many of the bridges and roads into the city were blocked. It was an exciting time.
One of the anchors for the noon news was Maury Povich, the son of the famous Washington Post sportswriter Shirley Povich. He later went on to national syndication with his tabloid shows, but he was a sports and newscaster when I knew him. The news director at the station was Ed Turner, who later became one of the founding editors for CNN in Atlanta. I learned a lot about news from seeing them make decisions and frame their stories. It was a great time for a young person to watch and learn, and besides working at the U-M campus radio station, it was my first real job in the news business.
While I have since left news and gone on to policy and lobbying, the skills I learned in the news business have served me well. The ability to write quickly and concisely – the ability to become an instant expert on a topic – the ability to speak in front of others and communicate. All of those skills I was able to hone thanks to the initial work I did through the PSIP program.
I know that PSIP can be a life changer for students who have a good experience. It clearly was for me. Thanks to PSIP for giving me a great start on what has been a fun and exciting career.