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Published: February 19, 2020

Today Show Intern Pitches Story Ideas, Has Magical Experience

Indira Moosai ’20 grew up in Boca Raton, FL, watching the Today show every day as she was getting ready for school. She dreamed about being a part of the show, maybe in the crowd or as a guest.


Indira Moosai ’20 worked as a production intern on the Today show last fall. Photo by David Garcia ’22

This past fall she got the chance in a big way. Moosai, a writing major and political science minor, landed a job as a production intern.

“I grew up watching them and [in my interview] I said I could really benefit from this, because I’ve been working in news,” said Moosai, the news copy editor and writer for UT’s news publication, The Minaret. “I’m really interested in news but also lifestyle. So, it’s a good thing for me to explore.” 

Moosai applied to more than 40 internships last year, and with no previous internship experience, she wasn’t expecting she’d get a call back from NBC.

She applied online and then received an email a few weeks later for a video interview, where she answered a series of timed questions like which show she’d prefer to be on, who the anchors of that show are and what her favorite series is on the show. She then had a final phone interview with similar basic questions and an outline of the job responsibilities.

A few days later, she received her offer letter in her email inbox, and just like that, she was on her way to New York City. 


Moosai, second from left, pitched story and panel ideas, and even participated in some segments, as seen above. Photo courtesy of Indira Moosai

“It is an incredible achievement to land an internship at the Today show,” said David Wheeler, assistant professor of journalism. “Just landing the internship itself was phenomenal, but Indira also successfully pitched story ideas to the producers. That means her ideas are being seen by millions of people.”

Moosai’s internship was paid, full time and varied from one day to the next. There were four different shifts that she could work: the green room, the office, the plaza and the control room.  

“It really depended day by day, like every day was a new adventure because you never knew what you were getting into,” said Moosai.

While working the plaza (outside, in front of the Today show’s Rockefeller Center location), Moosai interacted with crowd members, directing people, taking selfies and finding interesting stories from people. In the green room, Moosai booked cars for guests, guided and met celebrities coming on the show that day, and ran coffee orders. 

“I was really excited to meet Rhett McLaughlin and Link Neal,” said Moosai. “[They’re] YouTubers I love…I got to chat with them, and they really took the effort to get to know me, and even gave me a signed copy of their book.”

Moosai had the opportunity to shadow producers, directors and writers in the control room while the show was airing live. She also ran the planning sheets and schedules to the graphics department each time they changed.

Out of all of Moosai’s regular tasks and responsibilities, one of the most notable shifts was for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

“It was awesome,” said Moosai. “It was so cool seeing how they produce it behind the scenes…I got to guide guests all the way from their cars to the makeshift green room, which was a church, and then to the live set.”

Moosai pitched story and panel ideas, and graphic design ideas. One pitch she gave was aired on Feb. 7, which featured a retired couple, Bernie and Marita Hart, of Salt Lake City, UT. The couple teaches tai chi to the homeless to promote a sense of community and well-being.

Moosai pitched the story under the series “People Helping People” in the third hour of Today. She assisted with research for the story and collaborated with the segment producer through to the end.


Moosai’s internship was paid, full time and varied from one day to the next. “It really depended day by day, like every day was a new adventure because you never knew what you were getting into,” she said. Photo courtesy of Indira Moosai

Skills she learned in her UT classes and working with The Minaret prepared Moosai for many of these responsibilities, but she also learned new skills and discovered more about what she hopes to do in the future.

“I didn’t think I would be, but I’m now interested in production,” said Moosai. “Producers get to do so much, they even get to write their own things sometimes. They have big control over so much that I didn’t even realize.”

With graduation around the corner, Moosai isn’t sure what her next step is yet, but is sure that the skills and knowledge she gained from working with Today will help her indefinitely in her career.

“I would do it all over again,” said Moosai. “I will always remember how magical it felt to work in such a historic building that is 30 Rock, and I will use what I learned moving forward in my career.”

 

Story by Mallory Culhane '21, journalism major

 


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