After transferring from Baker College in Kansas because the school was no longer going to provide certification for music education, Elizabeth Tucker joined Westminster Choir College (WCC), only to decide to go into broadcasting.
Although Tucker will graduate in May with a bachelor of arts in music education, the internship she currently holds is at FOX News working on War Stories with Oliver North.
“Most music kids go through arts administration internships,” Tucker said. “I knew I wanted to do something with the media.”
Tucker’s previous experience was school projects, cutting videos and movies on her Mac. When people on campus gave her some good feedback, she began to consider that “maybe this is something I should explore,” she said.
Last April Tucker began the search for internships for this spring semester. She applied to The Late Show with David Letterman, Good Morning America and FOX News. After stringent cuts to the initial 1,200 applications for David Letterman, Tucker made it in the top 18 who were trying out for nine positions.
“That was my very first interview so I was very nervous,” she said. “It was a good experience.”
The nerve-wracking interview told Tucker that she wasn’t “up to par” with the big companies she was going to. So when she went into FOX News for the interview she didn’t expect to get the position, but was looking forward to the experience.
“My goal was to see how edgy I could be in the interview,” Tucker said. “So I thought ‘I won’t take it as a huge blow if I don’t get FOX News, so I’m just gonna put it all out there.’”
A panel of six women interviewed Tucker and near the end, one woman asked an unexpected question that students today should all fear happening to them. The woman wanted Tucker to state why she said she was liberal on her Facebook.com profile.
“I was just blown away that this woman asked me this,” Tucker said.
Thinking she wasn’t going to get a callback anyway, she gave her most truthful response.
Tucker asked if it was “necessary” to ask that to someone who wanted to work there. Then, she boldly told the woman that she didn’t believe it was appropriate or pertinent.
A week later she was offered two internships at FOX News.
Tucker had her choice between a research position on The O’Reilly Factor or a position on War Stories.
“It’s a show that features personal accounts of people who were involved primarily with WWII,” she said.
At War Stories, Tucker briefs the executive producer and the anchor on what happened overnight and in Iraq. She also transcribes video interviews.
“In terms of the cliché internship, I don’t get coffee and I don’t do menial, stupid things for my co-workers,” Tucker said.
Since working at FOX News, Tucker has made a demo of her reading from a teleprompter that will be part of her portfolio when she interviews for jobs.
“I’m going to start interviewing in March for anchor jobs,” she said.
Although she dreams of working in New York, anchors have told her that it’s easier, and more common, to get jobs in the Midwest and then eventually get to New York.
“One anchor even told me that I might have to start in the middle of Kansas, which is funny because he didn’t know I was from there,” Tucker said.
Still, Tucker loves the 40-plus hours she works each week at FOX News.
“You really have to be a certain caliber of person to even be involved in that whole society,” she said. “And it’s very intimidating at first, but once you fit into the current, you feel really good.”