Aaron Aguilar '24 Gains Production Experience at WPRI-TV

At JWU, we’re all about hands-on learning, whether it’s gaining real-world experience through internships, volunteering in the community or immersing yourself in another culture while studying abroad. Recently, Media & Communication Studies major Aaron Aguilar '24 shared his internship experience at WPRI-TV in Providence, RI where he learned the ins and outs of production, ranging from planning and preparation to communicating with guests and producers to updating the WPRI Rhode Show website. Continue reading to learn more about Aaron Aguilar’s time at WPRI-TV.

How has your time at JWU been so far?

I’ve had a lot of fun being a part of the Media & Communications program. The program is filled with such passionate professors and amazing opportunities that allow me to not only grow as a student, but as a professional.

How did you get the internship at WPRI? What was the process like?

I was first introduced to WPRI in a Directed Experiential Education (DEE) course that I did in the Fall semester of my junior year. I worked with WPRI and the Rhode Show to bring segments to JWU. Through that, I was able to meet someone who worked at the station and after talking to them, I was offered a spot to intern at WPRI. I feel like with this, a lot of it came from networking and being open to talk to people and start that conversation. I felt like a lot of it came to me from being open to find opportunities for myself.

How was your experience at WPRI? Was there anything that surprised you?

Overall, I had such a great experience learning what it’s like to be part of TV. I was there four days a week, so that allowed me to do all sorts of things as well as learn the good and bad about TV. I was surrounded by people that not only cared about me but were open to making my experience as best as it could be. In terms of surprises, I would say how fast everything has to be done. While it can be a little scary, TV is a business where everything has to be timed right and, while I knew coming in things had to be fast, I wasn’t aware how fast things had to be done.

Aaron Aguilar standing with production team at WPRI

What were some of the biggest takeaways from your experience at WPRI?

The biggest takeaway from my experience at WPRI would have to be being open to making mistakes and moving on. There were a lot of times where I would second guess myself and not do something as I was worried I would mess something up. Watching the professionals at my internship also make mistakes and be able to bounce back so fast really allowed me to trust myself more and, in a way, be able to embrace the ability to work under pressure. Also, the need to communicate is very important as the director might need to relay a message to the talent. The production people would have to be ready to relay that message and communicate what needed to be done.

Did you learn any new skills that might be helpful for your future career?

While I didn’t get to fully learn this area, being in the director’s room and watching how the director is able to get all their shots lined up as well as get the information onto the screen was very useful to me. Since I want to go into sports, I may want to one day direct. Being able to see some of the equipment that they have to use and how they use it allowed me to make mental notes and expose myself to an environment that I may want to be a part of in the future.

What was a typical day like at your internship?

Normally, I would get in at about 7:30 am. Since the show aired at 9:00 am, we had to have some time to prepare. This involved going through a breakdown of the show and discussing guests for the day. This meeting would consist of the talent and producers. Afterwards I would head to my desk and create a short rundown of the show highlighting the guests for that day, so the director and front desk secretary knew who to expect. After that I would update the WPRI Rhode Show website and write about the chef that would come in for the day. Since we had a chef every day, this meant I had to create a new post every day and add the recipe and instructions as well as who the chef was.

From there, at around 8:30 am, it was time to prepare for the show and either mic the guests, grab mugs and fill them with water for the talent, grab scripts, and switch the lights from news to Rhode Show. Also during this time, I had to update the whiteboard we had in the kitchen highlighting the chef and what they were making. Since we don’t have teleprompters in the kitchen, the talent uses the board to read what is being cooked that day.

Aaron Aguilar giving thumbs up at The Rhode Show

During the show, I would move guests to where they needed to be and got equipment ready, as guests needed tables for props and such. I would try to be as helpful as I could and make sure everyone knew what was going on.

Finally, after the show, I would put the mics away, and clean the mugs as well as any dishes the chef would leave. I would head back to my desk and clip the kitchen segment to then add to the post I had made earlier in the morning. From time to time, we would have people arrive to film an interview so I would either prompt or help on set. This would lead me to the end of the day which ended at 12 pm.

Do you have any advice for students looking for internships?

Be open to reaching out to people and starting those conversations. People in higher-up positions have made it to where they want to be, so they have no reason to reach out to you. Taking initiative and making that connection with someone can not only leave a good impression but it can also open doors for you. While it may not always work out, knowing you tried and gave it your best will only improve yourself as a professional.

What are your plans after JWU?

I plan on working in sports broadcasting and either using my talents as an editor or production person to capture high-level sports and share it with the world, and also work in an environment that I am in love with.

Learn About JWU’s Media & Communications Program