Fox apprentice program gives storytellers broadcast opportunities
The art of telling a story goes back to the early history of man. From tales spoken around a fire, to narration and drawings on a wall, the role of the story teller was important.
The people appointed the task were responsible to remember the history and to provide context to current times. As technology grows, our methods to deliver information may have changed, but at its core, the task is still the same.
Flash forward to today, where members of Fox News chairman and CEO Roger Ailes' apprentice program are working with the storytellers of the next generation.
The Ailes Apprentice Program, in its ninth year, is a project designed to support and promote diversity in the industry. It offers participants a full-time position, development meetings with Fox News Channel and Fox Business Network executives, as well as an opportunity to network and shadow anchors and reporters.
The apprentices are currently working on a four-part series that profiles influential Hispanic Americans in honor of National Hispanic Heritage Month. One of the segments hosted by Fox News' Alicia Acuna was an interview with former migrant worker Jose Hernandez, who became a NASA astronaut who flew in the Space Shuttle Discovery.
"I was holding the antenna when I was watching Eugene Cernan walk on the moon and I would hear NASA and Walter Cronkite narrate the moon walk … then I would go outside and I would see the moon outside, come back inside and see the moon walk," Hernandez said. "I did that about 3 or 4 more times and I said, 'Mama, Papa, that's what I want to do. I want to be an astronaut.'"
For Hernandez, that was the beginning. Next the storytellers who put this video report together needed to deliver the middle. Here, it was advice from the astronaut's father.
"He looked at me in a challenging way and said, 'That's what you really want to be?' Yes sir," Hernandez said. "And then he said, 'I think you can do it.' My eyes got this big. 'You just have to follow a simple recipe. Draw yourself a road map. What are the steps needed to get there? You can't skip steps. You've got to pay your dues,'" he said.
And there's the set up for the end. The apprentices need to bring in the ending for this inspirational story.
"There I am sitting in my orange suit with a helmet on and thinking, 'Wow, just 32 years ago I was working in the fields, picking cucumbers at 50 cents a bucket. Now, here I am with the American flag on my shoulder getting ready to blast off into space, getting ready to represent NASA and the United States.'"
Programs like the Fox News Channel's Ailes Apprentice Program are crucial in the way they give new professional storytellers the opportunity to produce content in a real-world working environment.
As media internships come under fire in the federal court system, aspiring writers, producers and artists will have to work harder to get practical experience and build portfolios of work. For writers, I usually steer them to the Readers Blogs section of OnMilwaukee.com. For photo journalists and videographers, I suggest volunteering for a non-profit agency.
But, for a news experience, then it takes networking to get a spot in a program that works in a newsroom. It's one thing to create stories for people to consume, it's altogether something different to have to produce while working under a looming deadline.
As times change and there are fewer people who are the true storytellers, it is nice to see programs like this one ready to train the journalists among the next generation.
You can see the video report here.
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