By: Delaney Huffman
Every year, the National Association of Television Program Executives (NATPE) offers a competitive internship program that allows selected students to attend the conference and develop a greater knowledge of the television buying and distribution processes. For more information, please contact Ana Francois, assistant professor of practice, at firstname.lastname@example.org. This year, Delaney Huffman, a University of Miami junior with a double major in Broadcast Journalism and History, agreed to share her experience as an NATPE intern.
The January 2020 National Association of Television Producing Executives (NATPE) Conference spanned three days at the Fontainebleau Miami Beach hotel and attracted over 6,000 media professionals. It is filled with opportunities to hear panelists, peruse the market floor, and, of course, network with participants. As an intern, I was lucky enough to listen in on sessions about the Tokyo 2020 Olympics coverage, the launch of NBC’s new streaming service, Peacock, and a Facebook Watch session with Gloria Estefan and Jada Pinkett Smith.
When I was not working on these speaker sessions, I was passing out NATPE magazines, escorting VIP guests, or answering questions that any conference attendee had. I was also encouraged to go to the market floor and speak to attendees. The staff, guests, and speakers were all kind and offered me helpful advice. I enjoyed being in an environment of forward-thinking professionals who were seasoned in their careers and wanted to pass on their wisdom to students. Some even offered to stay in touch after the conference or handed out their business cards. The interns were even invited to the official NATPE parties at LIV nightclub and by the famous Fontainebleau pool.
Furthermore, I was selected to work on the 17th annual Brandon Tartikoff Legacy Awards. This event was the best experience of the entire conference for me because I was surrounded by the most important and influential people in the media industry. I was fortunate enough to work at the check-in desk, which meant that I was able to interact with the attendees one-on-one and chat with them for a moment. What may have been a boring job in the eyes of some led me to meet such personalities as journalist and host Meredith Vieira, songwriter 50 Cent, and CNN CEO Jeff Zucker.
To anyone interested in learning about the media distribution industry, NATPE is the place for you. This conference made me realize how complex and diverse the television business is and reaffirmed my aspirations to enter it in the future. While some of the tasks were not so glamorous, they were all geared toward getting the interns out and talking to attendees of the conference. Of course, these connections were not handed to us. NATPE set its interns up for success, but ultimately it was their responsibility to make the most out of the experience.