How They Spent Their Summer Vacation
In our Sept./Oct. issue, now arriving in mailboxes, you’ll meet a handful of Penn State students who landed some coveted summer internships—and completely bust the myth that “internship” = “grunt work.”
In addition to the nine students profiled in the print edition, we thought you’d also enjoy hearing about a 10th: Audrey Snyder, who spent the summer in Milwaukee covering the Brewers for MLB.com. A senior in the College of Communications and a sports fanatic, Snyder was one of only 30 students nationwide to score the MLB gig, and the only intern covering the Brewers, making for a packed schedule and tight deadlines. Snyder squeezed in a few minutes (on a game day, no less) to talk to me about her job:
How did you get the gig?
I had friends from Penn State who interned with MLB.com in the past, so I knew it was the premier sports-writing internship. I applied as a sophomore—even though I was too young, since it’s for juniors and seniors—just to get my name out there. I wrote the essay, carefully selected my clips, and was then selected for an interview when MLB.com came to Penn State. I was notified in December of my selection. It’s highly competitive because there’s only one intern per team, so only 30 students total land the internship—plus it’s paid, which obviously makes it popular.
What were your responsibilities?
I wrote running game stories, sidebars, features, and notebooks; filed probable pitching matchups; sent in injury and depth-chart updates; and provided draft coverage and game previews. I also blogged, tweeted and used the Flip Cam for some interviews. Sometimes I was asked to do the same tasks for the opposing team if they didn’t send their beat writer.
The most surprising thing was how hands-on the internship was, even from the start. It’s not typical “intern work.” I never had to get coffee for people, and I was interviewing professional athletes every day. My coworkers viewed me as an equal part of the beat.
Ever get overwhelmed?
Definitely. I covered sports for The Collegian, so I’m used to reporting when the crowd is going wild and the music is blasting, that type of thing, but the biggest difference for me was with our game stories. We did a running game story that was due in the 8th inning. At The Collegian, whether I was covering baseball or football, most events happen on the weekend and the stories come out on Monday. The time crunch in Milwaukee was intense. One day, for example, the Brewers were down 1-0 when a player hit a homer in the 7th. I had five minutes to completely change the story.
What are they players like?
The Brewers are a really fun group of guys. Everybody knew me by name, and that’s the cool thing with baseball. You’re seeing these athletes on a daily basis, and you can hold conversations with the players and get to know them. They have some players who are just funny people. [Outfielder] Nyger Morgan is hilarious. Sometimes I’d be talking to him, and he’d come out of nowhere with a crazy joke. One day he was crawling around on the floor hiding behind chairs and just joking around. It’s funny to watch, because they’re professional athletes and you expect them to be serious all the time. They can flip that switch.
What was your coolest assignment?
I wrote a feature on [Brewers' third baseman] Casey McGehee. He’d been in a huge batting slump, and he’s been going through a lot personally. His son has cerebral palsy, and everyone knows how difficult that’s been for him. He and his wife are really active in cerebral palsy awareness, and his son’s been making great strides. I wanted to write a feature that captured that—how it’s been part of this crazy year for him. I interviewed his family and got to know him. It’s my favorite story, because it shows the human side to these guys. They may be making millions of dollars, but they’re still human beings. [Read the feature here.]
Has this internship changed your career goals?
I love covering Penn State football, so I always thought that’s what I wanted to do. I never envisioned myself covering baseball, but after this summer, I think I could totally do this for a living.
Mary Murphy, associate editor