Bellisario College students honed skills at Golf Channel this summer

August 15, 2018

(Editor's note: This is the 12th in a series of stories about students in the Donald P. Bellisario College of Communications completing summer internships.)

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — For golf enthusiasts, Golf Channel is the place to go for top-of-the-line coverage of their favorite sport, including live event coverage, news shows, instructional shows, apps and more.

This summer, students from the Donald P. Bellisario College of Communications visited Golf Channel on a near-daily basis, but not just by flipping on their TVs or opening an app on their phones to consume the content.

Junior journalism major Jack Hirsh (Villanova, Pennsylvania), senior advertising/public relations major Andrew Severin (North Andover, Massachusetts), and senior journalism major Leeann Stapleton (Springfield, New Jersey) traveled to Orlando, Florida, to spend 10 weeks helping to produce that content and getting hands-on communications experience through Golf Channel’s internship program.

“It’s nice to be with people who are as crazy obsessed with golf as I am and, at the same time, have the skills that I’m looking to gain at just about the highest level there is,” Hirsh said. “It’s a really cool, laid-back atmosphere.”

Golf Channel, which is owned by NBCUniversal, is available to nearly 500 million viewers in nearly 80 countries. It features more live golf coverage than all other networks combined.

Hirsh, who was an original productions intern in the instruction department, served mostly as a production assistant. He had the opportunity to run the teleprompter for “The School of Golf,” which is Golf Channel’s only in-studio instructional show. He also got to be a part of a live taping of “Feherty,” featuring former PGA Tour pro David Feherty. On a daily basis, he assisted with a variety of tasks, including pulling together clips and going through old footage.

One of the benefits for Hirsh was expanding his skill set. As a beat reporter for The Daily Collegian, he has had the opportunity to sharpen his writing, video and multimedia skills. With a focus on broadcast journalism at Penn State, he can hone his on-camera skills. This internship gave him the opportunity to see the production side of things and to work in TV for the first time.

“If you’re as good of a writer as someone else, you’ve got to have the other skills to make somebody pick you over them,” Hirsh said.

Severin, who worked at a local country club in high school, spent this summer working with GolfNow, an app owned by the Golf Channel that lets users book tee times at courses around the country, provides in-round scoring, and serves as a golf GPS. Severin was in the member care department, which works to optimize the customer experience with the app by assisting users with booking, canceling or modifying tee times. He also ran reports, tested website functionality, built email templates, attended meetings and more. His jobs changed day to day, which is something he enjoyed about the internship.

Severin also appreciated the opportunity to network. Early in the internship, the group of Penn State interns had the chance to have lunch with David Schaefer, a graduate of the Bellisario College and vice president of communications at Golf Channel. While working with a company of this size was a new experience for Severin, he said the Golf Channel team makes the transition easy.

“Golf Channel's internship program sets us up to succeed in this environment,” Severin said. “They assign mentors to interns who are usually managers from different departments and offer informational sessions and workshops throughout each week. Personally, it’s provided a whole new perspective on my professional career.”

Stapleton has been golfing since she was 4 years old and has been watching the Golf Channel for as long as she can remember. This summer, she served as a programming intern, working with the LPGA and the international aspect of the Golf Channel.

She had various responsibilities, which included going through video files and looking for images of players at different tournaments, as well as working on the production of LPGA broadcasts for Golf Channel’s partner, WOWOW TV in Japan. Stapleton also had the chance to be a part of live broadcasts and to attend tapings of some of Golf Channel’s original shows.

Stapleton, who golfed competitively through high school, knew she wanted to be a journalist by the end of her sophomore year at Penn State. Her long-term goal is to be a sports reporter, so this internship gave her a behind-the-scenes look at what a career in sports is like.

“It's amazing to be able to have the opportunity to work here,” Stapleton said. “On a professional level, the Golf Channel is my dream job and it is great to be able to get my foot in the door and prove that I deserve to work here in the future.”

Last Updated August 20, 2018