By Olivia Rosenberg, Media Management Senior

“The experience is what you make it” is the only thing I was told prior to interning for the National Association of Television Program Executives (NATPE) Market & Conference. Needless to say, I did not know what to expect when I was selected as an intern for the January 2015 NATPE event in Miami Beach. I knew that NATPE was an annual conference where American and international television program buyers and sellers got together for business transactions and to discuss current issues, but what was my role in all of this?

I quickly learned that, as interns, our job was to ensure that the conference ran smoothly. Much of our first two days was spent loading different types of gift bags for attendees in preparation for the conference. Additionally, NATPE staff shared with us their stories about how they broke into the industry and offered valuable advice and networking opportunities.  

Once the conference began, interns were signing in attendees, handing out NATPE magazines, providing directions or assisting in the educational sessions. While these tasks may appear mundane, the dynamic environment of the conference made them very exciting; we never knew whom we would get the chance to see. It was fun to "check out" the leaders of an industry where I would like to work someday.  

My favorite activity was assisting with the seminars. I was able to listen to top executives' opinions on a variety of topics, such as the future of reality television and global co-productions. I also gained new economic insights into the television business – from major corporations’ marketing strategies to why Tumblr is a valuable platform for the entertainment industry.

By the end of the conference, I finally understood why the experience is what you make it. NATPE is an unusual time when a large amount of executives are available in a single location. As interns for five days, we had the potential to learn more about the media management career that we are pursuing. This conference gave me a glimpse into the entertainment world in a way that none of my other previous experiences had.  

For more information about the NATPE internship program, contact Professor Ana Francois in the Department of Journalism and Media Management.