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Science Hill grad heads to 30 Rock

Jan Hearne • Apr 3, 2012 at 8:46 AM

Jonathan Radford is headed for 30 Rock this summer. That’s 30 Rockefeller Plaza in New York, home of NBC.

Radford learned Wednesday he has received a 10-week internship at NBC News, and the Middle Tennessee State Univer-sity sophomore is “elated.”

“I don’t think it’s hit me yet,” he said. “It’s an amazing opportunity.”

Radford, a 2010 graduate of Science Hill High School, is an electronic media communications major at MTSU, studying with an eye toward broadcast news and meteorology.

He applied for the fellowship at NBC earlier this year. “You apply for things and hope for the best, but prepare for the worst,” he said of the wait to hear whether or not he had been accepted.

In the meantime, he attended a journalism short course sponsored by the National Association of Black Journalists March 21-24 in Greensboro, N.C. There he met and talked with the coordinator of internships and scholarships at NBC.

“On Monday (March 26), NBC called and asked to speak to me on Tuesday. On Wednesday, they called me back to be placed,” he said. “I’m one of four people to be chosen to go to NBC.”

The internship will begin in June. Radford isn’t sure what the scope of his work will be but he does know where he will be working within NBC.

“I’ll be working on thegrio.com. It’s a website developed by NBC News that specializes in the interests and issues of the African-American community.”

Radford will work in the same building with Brian Williams, Tom Brokaw and Matt Lauer. “I will be in their presence more than likely,” he said. “I do believe I will be working directly with the Rev. Al Sharpton.”

Before he goes to New York in June, Radford will be studying in Greece during the month of May. “It’s going to be a phenomenal summer,” he said.

His interest in broadcast journalism began early in life and quite by chance. In seventh grade, he happened to see WCYB’s one-day afternoon newscast following a makeover of the news set. “I watched it and thought, ‘wow, this is fascinating.’ I was enthused by everything that went into doing a broadcast,” he said. “Seeing people on television, I realized these are special people. I got excited about the TV part and developed a love and passion for news in high school.”

While a student at MTSU, Radford has worked at the campus TV station, which is broadcast throughout Rutherford County. He describes himself as a multi-media journalist. “I write, shoot and edit my own stories,” he said. Then he uses social media to get the word out to viewers.

Though he clearly loves broadcast journalism, Radford is looking at the step after the next step in his career. He asked himself, “What can I do that would keep me in the TV realm of broadcasting but will also make a difference in people’s lives?”

The answer, he said, was right in front of him. “The weather is always going to be there, and it’s always going to be a part of people’s lives.

“The icing on the cake was when I started doing weather at the campus station. It takes a lot of practice to work in front of a green screen. I went on the air the first night and felt at home and comfortable in front of the weather wall,” he said. “That changed it for me; this is what I want to do. I’m interested in saving people’s lives.”

Radford’s New York internship won’t be his first visit to the Big Apple. As a member of Science Hill’s marching band, he has visited the city more than once. “I made my first trip there in ’05, and now I’ve been a couple of times since then.”

Still he realizes visiting and living in New York are two different things. He said he’s ready to embrace the New York life.

He’s also ready for whatever NBC has in store for him.

“I’m looking forward to whatever I’m asked to do. I’m ready to do that and much more.”

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