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Broadcast Major 'Doesn't Miss a Beat' With Internships

Dec. 12, 2013
SHSU Media Contact: Jennifer Gauntt
Story By: Linda Gilchriest

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Miranda Landsman has accomplished more as a broadcast journalism student than seasoned professionals have in a 25-year career.

The 21-year-old senior from Onalaska has traveled to Bosnia to cover a scholarly conference, spent five-and-a-half months working with the Texas Legislature and earned a most-coveted internship to work with former CBS anchorman Dan Rather.

And she has just started.

As she departs Sam Houston State University this semester, graduating with a degree in broadcast journalism and a minor in political science, Landsman is preparing to begin her career as a reporter and producer with the Corpus Christi NBC affiliate KRIS—TV.

Landsman knew from a young age she wanted to be a journalist, and to accomplish that goal, she hit the ground running. At the age of 15 she began working at a radio station and her freshman year at SHSU, she completed her first internship with Houston’s ABC affiliate, KTRK-TV, Channel 13.

(Above, from right) Landsman with Melanie Lawson and Art Rascon during her reporting internship at KTRK in Houston during her freshman year. (Below) Landsman helps put State Rep. Dan Branch and her sister Sarah in the Bearkat spirit while serving as a legislative intern January to May 2013. —All photos were submitted

Her background, scholarly achievements and personality made her a perfect fit for the Austin Internship Program. She served in the office of State Rep. Dan Branch, R-Dallas.

Political science clinical professor Mike Yawn, the Austin Internship Program coordinator, encouraged her to apply last fall.

“She is a very strong writer, but I think a lot of it comes down to personality, attitude and professionalism,” Yawn said. “There is the technical skill, and in her case, it’s writing. That’s what made her a particularly good intern for Dan Branch, who is chairman of the Higher Education Committee.

“This is a highly competitive internship to get into. Every college wants to put someone there, but (Branch’s staff) really needs someone who can write and that’s what his chief of staff really bragged on. I think she said Miranda was reinventing the duties of the Dan Branch intern,” Yawn said.

Where other students might be exhausted by the daily 12–to-16 hours of work during the last legislative session, it exhilarated Landsman.

“When I first started and they would hand me a bill, it was all Greek,” she laughs. “I couldn’t understand any of the lingo. Even my co-workers in the office … I didn’t understand what they were talking about. By the end of the session, I was reading bills and I was helping them (co-workers) research. It is so incredible; it is like a different language.”

Toward the end, Landsman was researching important legislation on her own.

“I would inform Rep. Branch on whether or not a bill aligned with his views,” she said. “I felt I was a very big part of his vote because I was the person getting the research and presenting the information: ‘This is why you should vote for this bill, or this is why you shouldn’t vote for this bill, because it will affect your constituents this way.’”

Dustin Meador, Higher Education Committee clerk, said Landsman acclimated to the job quickly.

“She was hard working and eager to learn,” Meador said. “She easily put up with longer hours and more work than the average intern. A lot of interns will go home at the end of regular working hours, but she stayed with us through the long nights in session, often past 11 p.m., and at least on one occasion until 1 a.m. And she managed to always be in high spirits through it all.

“Without exaggeration, our session would have been much more difficult without her hard work,” he said.

“Rep. Branch was an amazing representative to work for,” Landsman said. “I liked working for him because I supported the things he was doing, so being able to help him accomplish those goals was just such an honor.

“He is such a hard worker. We would be there until three in the morning and he would be right there with us. He never cut out early and left us to do the work,” she said. “I love politics, and all of my life I will be involved with politics, whether it be in journalism or doing something in government.”

After returning from Austin as an Austin Internship Program intern with the state legislature, Landsman jetted off to New York over the summer, where she worked with Dan Rather through the mass comm department's Dan Rather Internship (above). Finally, this fall, she traveled to Sarajevo, Bosnia, (below) with SHSU's Global Center for Journalism and Democracy and the Alliance of Universities for Democracy.

After the session ended, Branch announced his bid for state attorney general. Landsman said she supports his decision.

“I saw firsthand how hard he worked to represent his district's voice; not his own. His work as representative has proven very valuable to our state,” she said. “We would be lucky to have him as our attorney general.”

Landsman barely had time to repack her suitcase before she was off to New York to intern with veteran newsman Dan Rather, a graduate of Sam Houston State University himself.

Landsman said she had applied for the Dan Rather Internship, offered through the mass communication department, every year since she was a freshman and finally received it this year. It was a summer she won’t forget.

“I stayed in Manhattan and worked in Times Square,” Landsman said. “I was Dan Rather's personal intern so I attended many events with him. I also worked with the producers on pre- and post-production of ‘Dan Rather Reports,’ which airs every Tuesday.”

Landsman also traveled to Bosnia in the fall where she worked with the Alliance of Universities for Democracy by documenting the group’s annual conference, handling social media and reporting stories out of the conference. She was asked to perform those duties by SHSU Global Center for Journalism and Democracy executive director Kelli Arena, who presented at the conference with AUDEM president Peter Cooper, who also is the chair of SHSU’s computer science department.

AUDEM is a global organization of universities that come together to discuss how to promote democracy at each of their schools.

Although she sees graduate school in her future, she is eager to get into the workforce for now.

“I just love that everyone has a story, and I want to tell that story,” Landsman said. “And I am a big advocate for freedom of speech. I want to spend my life helping to preserve and protect the right of people to speak. The door is open for me.”

Landsman said she is grateful to Sam Houston for enhancing her college experience.

“This is all thanks to Sam Houston,” Landsman says. “Sam Houston has so many opportunities for students. If you apply yourself, you really can do anything at the school because they support the students so much. I’m really blessed to be at this school.”

 

 

 

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