News

February 11, 2009

Flight 1549 in the Hudson

My externship with Meghan Baker ’07 at ABC News 20/20.
By Sarah Reddan ’09
In an externship at ABC News 20/20 in Manhattan, Sarah Reddan ’09 and Chelsea McCue ’09 helped out with coverage of Flight 1549’s emergency landing in the Hudson. Production assistant Meghan Baker ’07 hosted Reddan (Monroe Township, N.J.), a history major, and McCue (Rosemont, N.J.), a government and law major.

Reddan writes:

My externship was exciting and hectic. Not only was it inauguration weekend, but U.S. Airways Flight 1549 had crash-landed in the Hudson River the day before. Although Meghan had a plan for Chelsea and me, an opportunity came up that changed how our day unfolded.

One of the producers was interviewing survivors from the plane and needed someone to bring the tapes back to the studio. Meghan sent us over to the Essex House Hotel where a camera crew was setting up for the interview. I not only got the opportunity to meet the producer and crew, but I was able watch the reporter, Jim Avila, interview a survivor who told a moving story about his near-death experience on the plane.

After the interview, the producer gave Chelsea and me the tapes to take back to ABC. We met Meghan in the studio where we watched news anchor Elizabeth Vargas do podcasts for the ABC News web site. Meghan then gave us a tour of the studio, which was surprisingly smaller than I had pictured. It wasn’t until late afternoon that things settled down a little and we were able to get some lunch. Meghan told us more about her position as a production assistant to the senior producers and how her time at Lafayette helped prepare her for this career.

Job shadowing Meghan at 20/20 was a great experience. I saw how important it was for everyone to work together to get the news to run as smoothly as we see it on television. In addition, I learned that working in the news industry can be exciting and sometimes chaotic, depending on what happens in the world that day. Meghan was a wonderful extern host, and I am glad I had the opportunity to see the daily life of a production assistant at ABC.

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