If you know of high school or college students who have an interest in working in media, tell them about the Emma Bowen Foundation, which provides multi-year paid internships in all areas of the industry.
“When people think of working in media, they may think of becoming the next Oprah Winfrey, Al Roker, or Shonda Rhimes,” says Erin Roberts, director of development and communications at Emma Bowen. “But we think of the industry more broadly.”
The foundation looks beyond who’s in front of the camera to place students along three main tracks: business (including public relations and human resources), content (news production, broadcast journalism, and print journalism), and innovation (software development, social media, coding, etc.).
The Goal Is to Get Hired
The foundation partners with major media companies including Comcast, NBC, Discovery, and others, and selects only about 10% of the 800 applicants it hears from every year.
“We have about 200 students interning across the country at any given time,” says Roberts. Applicants increase their chances of being selected if they’ve worked on their school paper, taken a leadership role, and understand some of the basics about the media business.
“We work hand in hand with our partner companies,” says Roberts, “because hiring is the goal. We want to make sure it’s a good match.”
In the Trenches
Rokeia Gravley, an Emma Bowen alumnus, describes the foundation as life changing. Now a senior broadcast product manager for Videa L.L.C., a Cox Media Group-backed supply-side platform bringing automation and data-driven sales to broadcast television.
“I am helping to build a platform that will simplify the way media is bought and sold,” Gravley describes her work. “I work with station managers and software developers to help optimally price and sell TV inventory.”
How did the foundation affect her career choice? “Through the Emma Bowen Foundation, I started as an intern at ABC at the end of my junior year in high school. I was exposed to several facets of the media industry: production (of shows like All My Children), legal (registration of ABC-owned music with ASCAP & BMI), and event planning (of the Daytime Emmy Awards telecast). Learning how the media industry operated from the inside and gaining access to various departments allowed me to assess my strengths and interests.”
Gravley calls Emma Bowen “a blessing. Were it not for the college counselor who introduced me to the Emma Bowen Foundation, I would not have been able to fulfill my aspirations of working in this industry.”
She even asked an early industry mentor, Dennis Swanson (who gave Oprah her start), to walk her down the aisle at her wedding!
For more information about the Emma Bowen Foundation, visit its website.