Katherine Sobotka, PMHS class of 2004, recently had the exciting opportunity to serve as an extern with ABC anchor Charles Gibson on “World News Tonight”. While a senior at Lafayette College in Easton Pennsylvania, majoring in government and law, Katherine was offered the 3 day position as a behind-the-scenes news journalist. In Katherine’s own words, the fast-paced world of news broadcasting comes to life.
“When I found out that I would be taking part in an externship at ABC News World News with Charles Gibson, I had no idea what to expect. While of course I was immediately excited at the thought of working behind-the-scenes at a popular news station, I was also so nervous that I walked into the wrong building. In addition, having to have to wait to be personally escorted into the actual office building did not relax me in any way. However, the second I saw Barbara Friedman I immediately felt comfortable and at home. I could not have asked for a better host. Instead of sitting me down in a cubicle and having me sort through mountains of boring paperwork that is usually associated with interns, Barbara immediately introduced me to the world of journalism.
The three days I spent at ABC were so packed that we barely even had time to eat lunch. However, the intense and always changing environment intrigued me the very moment I got there. I was fortunate enough to come at the time of one of the most emotional and critical primaries and was even able to help Barbara Friedman on her production team. The most interesting production that I worked on covered the Michigan primaries. Not only did I increase my knowledge about politics, but I was able to watch Barbara Friedman and her editor communicate with correspondents that were actually based in Michigan. I was able to help log an interview between a correspondent and five ordinary Michigan retirees who were discussing their concerns for the disastrous Michigan economy and the candidates they believed would pay attention to their neglected state after winning the election. Being able to help produce actual clips that aired at 6:30 was a satisfying experience unlike anything I have ever done before.
When Barbara Friedman found out that I have a passion for writing, she did everything she could to introduce me to the producers over at the abcnews.com operation. I met with several friendly and informative people who spoke to me about writing for ABC and my future. News does not just concern the attractive correspondents who inform you of what is going on. There is a whole different world behind these correspondents, and I was lucky enough to experience it.
Seeing first-hand everything that goes on behind-the-scenes for a half hour show has completely changed my perspective on television. Now, every station I watch, whether it be ABC, CNN, or MSNBC, I can relate what they are doing to what I did during my externship. When a clip shows up of foreclosed houses for spots on the economy, I know that all these stations use what is called B-roll. I have conversed with the graphics artists and spent plenty of time with the editors who put together the clip. News is completely different for me and while it has lost some of its mystery, it has become even more appealing to me.
Barbara Friedman and my externship at ABC News opened up the door to a number of possibilities for me. While I have always been interested in journalism and writing, I have met so many people there who all hold fascinating jobs that never seem to get boring. With the news constantly surrounding us, this externship has made me realize that this is something that is completely worth pursuing in the future.”
While at PMHS, Katherine was a member of the National Honor Society, played Varsity Soccer and Badminton, was a member the Student Council and a staff member of the school yearbook. At Lafayette College, she was on the Dean’s List all 4 years and was a member of the History Honor Society, Beta Xi. She graduated Lafayette in May 2008 and is pursuing her dream of law school. Katherine’s parents still live in Medford and her brother, Dominick, attends PMHS. She has another brother, also a PMHS graduate, who is attending Dickinson College in Pennsylvania.
The entire membership of PMCT congratulates Katherine, as well as all PMHS graduates pursuing a law degree, on her success and wishes her the best of luck in her career.