My first days interning at Thomson Reuters

Bonjour from my office in Brussels, Belgium!

For those of you who do not know, I am interning at Thomson Reuters in the Brussels location TV department this summer. I know you all want to believe that I am spending my days eating waffles while wandering Europe, but with my internship and classes, I am really working most of the time.

My friends in journalism feel free to skip to the next paragraph because I am going to assume that you know what Thomson Reuters is (or at least, you probably should), but for those of you who don’t, I’ll explain a little about the company. Reuters is a news agency that provides content in over 100 countries and has over 600,000 employees across the world. What Reuters does is it sells their stories to news companies all around the world. For example, a story that our branch did last week was bought and used by BBC, CNN, etc.

I started my internship Wednesday and the first thing that we did was took a tour of the office, met our co-workers and got our workstations set-up. Then, we filled out information to send a media press pass request to the European Commission. However, before we could finish filing the request, there was breaking news and Haley and I (my friend that is also interning with me at Reuters) got to tag-along with the cameraman and reporter.

My boss saw a tweet that flights out of Brussels airport were cancelled, due to technical issues. So we grabbed the equipment and went to check it out. As soon as we got there, they got straight to work. The cameras are the same as the ones I use at KOMU, which I am excited about because Jan (the cameraman) seems to be a videography genius and I think I will learn a lot from him. He sets up shots so quickly and is constantly thinking in sequence (sorry if this post gets a little journalism nerdy). I just watched his ability to scan the room and think about every sequence that is necessary to tell the story. He used the tripod for most shots, but he also wasn’t afraid to crawl on the floor to get a good angle. One thing that I thought was great was that he got a lot of close-up facial reaction shots from passengers as they looked up at the board of all the flight cancellations.

Clement was the one conducting the interviews and writing the script and I also learned a lot from him. Reuters has a long stick mic, so they don’t have to tell people to run the mic up their shirt to hide the wires. This and the fact that there were two people working on the story allowed Clement to approach people as they were in line to figure out how to get to their end destinations, so he was able to get their initial reactions instead of giving them time to think about what they are going to say. That allowed for some more real and emotion-filled sound bites (they call them vox-pops).

They sat at a table after everything and Clement scripted in iNews while Yan cut the clips in Edius. Since this is a news agency and not station, they cut video into sequences and sound-bites that are longer so that news stations can use whatever video they please and can put it to the script that they write. So what does a news agency script look like then? The script is a shot list that describes the action in the shot or quotes the sound bite. Then underneath the shot list, they write the web story so that Reuters customers know what the story is about and can use that to write their own script. (Hopefully, this is making sense).

Anyway, when we got back we read some European news.

The next day of work, we did a lot of research about TTIP (an EU-US trade agreement) that will be making many headlines in June, the battle at Waterloo since the centennial anniversary is in June and about the Greek debt crisis, since we will also do many stories on that.

The next day at work, we watched the mid-day European Council press briefing and took notes and wrote down time codes of good sound bites (vox-pops). After lunch, we went to the European Council to get our press passes. I’m not going to lie, that made me feel pretty important.

Today is Monday and we really didn’t do very much at work today. We updated the big whiteboard with June’s calendar of events and watched the European Council mid-day briefings. We also looked over some stories from our co-workers because they like to make sure their translations to English make sense.