A semester in the Capitol: junior pursues journalism internship at ABC

Molly Nagle, senior in Media, poses with her mentor, ABC’s Senior Foreign Affairs Correspondent Martha Raddatz, at the 2014 White House Correspondents Dinner.

Comedian Tina Fey once said, “Say yes, and you’ll figure it out afterward.” These same words inspired Molly Nagle, senior in Media, when she decided to take a semester off school and travel halfway across the country to take up an internship at ABC News in Washington D.C.

Nagle wrote in an email that she began applying for internships in October 2013, after a rough day at her on-campus job. She was a semester ahead in school, which she said gave her the chance to take the internship outside of campustown.

“(That day) I came home and started Googling internships for spring 2014, and the first one I came across was the application for ABC,” she said. “I just kind of thought, ‘Why not?’”

The application for the internship at ABC included an online form that asked for basic personal information, a resume and cover letter. She also had to fill out a questionnaire a few weeks later, she said.

Nagle also said she made an appointment to meet with Jessica Hogue, director of Media Career Services here at the University, for help with her application. Hogue wrote in an email that the two spent time discussing how Nagle could prove her experiences and skills in her resume and cover letter by “showing instead of telling.”

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“This is a common conversation that I have with students, but Molly really understood what I was saying and took my advice to heart,” Hogue said. “In the end, she had a very well-written resume and extremely personal cover letter to send with her application.”

Nagle also consulted Lynn Holley, academic programs coordinator and a lecturer for the Department of Journalism, for advice when she was applying for internships. She said she had been in two of Holley’s classes.

“I offered her guidance on where she should apply, what bumps she might hit and discussed how to make her application stand out from the other candidates,” Holley wrote in an email.

Nagle was then notified that she would be interviewed for an internship for the weekly news show, This Week with George Stephanopoulos. While she did not get accepted to the internship, she found out shortly after that she had been chosen as an intern for Martha Raddatz, the senior global affairs correspondent for the ABC News Bureau in D.C. and the moderator for the 2012 vice presidential debate.

“I immediately accepted the position without an ounce of hesitation,” Nagle said. “It was such an amazing opportunity that there was no way that I could turn it down.”

Nagle said she learned a great deal from her internship at ABC, as it was the first time she was on her own. Because she didn’t know anyone in D.C., she said she was able to learn a lot about herself and what she was capable of.

Raddatz, she said, was also extremely supportive.

“She really took me under her wing, and did everything she could to make my internship the best it possibly could have been,” she said. She also said she learned how “important and underratedly hard work can be.”

However, interning at ABC did not come without its challenges. Nagle said it was hard to not be intimidated by the idea of working at ABC, and working with people who she had watched and idolized while developing her own skills in journalism.

“It was overwhelming, but I learned so much by just observing and being around such talented people,” she said.

Nagle said her internship at ABC also helped her widen her options for the future. Before the internship, she was certain that she wanted a job reporting on camera. However, after exposure to more jobs within the field, she is now exploring and applying for a wider range of jobs when she graduates in May.

Back on campus, Nagle’s supporters are very proud and impressed with what she has done.

Holley said she also saw changes in Nagle’s confidence levels following her time with ABC.

“What Molly has gained the most from my perspective is a tremendous boost in confidence as a journalist and in her ability to obtain high-profile internships and jobs,” she said. “I believe she now has more faith in her abilities and while she was no slouch in this department before her internship, she has enhanced her talents in broadcast journalism. Molly proved to herself the high quality of work she was capable of while gaining the respect of some of the best broadcast professionals in the world.”

Hogue agrees.

“It takes great courage to step away from college for a semester, especially when it involves relocating to a new city,” Hogue said. “But when the rewards greatly outweigh the risks, as her internship experience did, it is so worth it and she understood that.”

In fact, Nagle said she was surprised by how easy it was to be away from school.

“Of course I had pangs of jealousy when I would see pictures of my friends together and having fun at school, but I was getting to experience so many cool things in D.C. that it was hard to justify the jealousy,” she said.

Nagle said she would highly recommend to other students interested in applying for internships across the nation that they should “go for it,” because there’s no harm in at least trying.

“I applied on a whim, and had no real intentions of anything ever coming of it,” she said. “But when the opportunity presented itself, I just went with it and figured it out as I went along. I never in a million years thought that I would get an internship at ABC, but I’m so grateful every day that I was given the opportunity.”

Abby can be reached at [email protected].