A Winning Experience at the Olympics

NBC interns and Bradley alumni Justine Harris '12 and Zachary Keesee '12 pose with fellow intern and Bradley student Elise Dismer outside the Olympic Stadium in London.

By Frank Radosevich II
August 31, 2012

While most viewers watched the Summer Olympics from home, Zachary Keesee ’12 had a front-row seat to the international games in London.

From an office at Horse Guards Parade in central London, Keesee worked as a logger, which had him watching beach volleyball games live and keeping a detailed log of what happened in the matches. His digital record allowed officials with NBC to quickly identify clips to highlight for broadcast.

“In the beginning, it was very hard but after about four games, you were a pro at it,” he said. “I can honestly say I got into beach volleyball. The crowds were unreal.”

Keesee, a sports communication graduate from Ransom, Ill., was one of 10 Bradley students who spent two weeks or more working for NBC either at the games or at the network’s headquarters in New York City. Bradley was one of five universities nationwide to supply interns to the national broadcaster.

Bradley faculty, alumni and staff at the Smith Career Center lent their full support to students who applied for the competitive internship, providing feedback on resumes and conducting mock interviews. Forty-three students landed interviews with NBC.

“This opportunity would not have been possible without the faculty at Bradley,” Keesee said. “They’re what sets Bradley apart from other universities. They wanted us to succeed and worked to see it through.”

Dr. Paul Gullifor, chair of the communication department, said the preparation paid off as NBC officials expressed their admiration for the number of impressive candidates the University put forth. He said Bradley hopes to foster a closer relationship with NBC and expand the number of internship opportunities to students in the future.

“Ultimately, we would like to be part of everything that falls under the NBCUniversal-Comcast umbrella, which has media properties in sports, news and entertainment on so many different levels,” he said.

Sports communication senior Mathew DeFreitas worked in New York City as a logger for a variety of sports, like fencing, weightlifting and basketball. DeFreitas, who hopes to go into sports broadcasting as a career, said the experience gave him an inside glimpse at the scale of the NBC’s operation.

“They really made you feel like you were a crucial part of the operation,” said DeFreitas, who would log the games live in 12-hour shifts. “It gave you a great feeling to know you were doing something right.”

Kristina Puerto, a senior in public relations, worked as “shot selector” at NBC’s 30 Rock headquarters for the network’s website. Puerto would receive assignments to edit footage into highlight reels or edit brief video montages of events that could be viewed online.

The Chesterfield, Mo., native said the internship is a great foundation to help further her career in the communications field.

“I left the job with more skills than I came in with; it was really valuable,” said Puerto, who spent three weeks in New York City. “Now I feel confident I can work with video editing and that’s a skill I can use later on as a PR major.”

Elise Dismer, a senior studying journalism and French, spent 25 days in London working as a runner for the broadcaster. She had access to all the Olympic venues and her daily schedule was anything but routine.

“We did different things every day; you never knew what you were going to do,” she said. One day was spent delivering tickets, another laminating documents and yet another tracking down necessary hardware tools. All the while, she was passing sights like the Tower Bridge, Big Ben and Westminster Abbey.

The exposure to the broadcast world was invaluable, Dismer said, showing her how a massive organization like NBC can organize, link up and execute their coverage.