Rider student takes on summer internship with country's most watched TV station

Mary-Lyn Buckley gains experience at WABC-TV Eyewitness News in New York City
Robert Leitner ’17

A Mother’s Day mishap for Bloomingtime, a mom and pop flower shop in Staten Island, N.Y., was Mary-Lyn Buckley’s first and most memorable case with 7 On Your Side. Mother’s Day is one of the busiest days of the year for the shop, and while sales were booming, the processors of Bloomingtime’s credit card machine froze.

Two weeks later, the shop still hadn’t received proceeds from the transactions, which amounted to thousands of dollars. With the help of Buckley’s investigative work, two days after 7 On Your Side called the credit card machine processor, Bloomingtime received every cent of their Mother’s Day credit card sales. Buckley, a digital media major with a minor in journalism, was selected out of hundreds of applicants as a 7 On Your Side intern to work at WABC-TV Eyewitness News in New York City, the most watched station in the market and in the country. 7 On Your Side, a department within the news broadcast, covers consumer reports and investigative reporting.

“Interning at WABC-TV allowed me to work with professionals that helped guide me in the right direction by providing a new perspective,” says Buckley. “It’s out-of-the-classroom experiences like this one that taught me what it takes to succeed. There are some things a textbook simply cannot prepare you for.”

Playing a role in the investigative unit, Buckley investigated stories submitted by consumers each who have experienced an issue with a company that hadn’t been resolved. After reviewing each case along with supporting documents, Buckley worked with Consumer Reporter Nina Pineda and Producer Steve Livingstone and learned how to cover consumer investigations from start to finish, even if it meant showing up to a business to confront store owners in search of consumer justice.

Buckley is one of the 1,400 Rider students gaining hands-on professional experience in areas like New York City and Philadelphia as a part of Rider’s engaged learning experience, where students are able to enhance their professional skills and test-drive their career.

In addition to her summer internship with WABC-TV, Buckley was hired in June as a freelance junior reporter for WTXF FOX 29, a Philadelphia-based news station that serves New Jersey, Delaware and Pennsylvania. The first time Buckley applied to the junior reporter program at FOX 29, she did't receive an offer, but the support of her family, mentors and Rider faculty motivated her to re-apply for the program.

Rider’s Video Technology Coordinator Scott Alboum played a vital role in mentoring Buckley. "He was the one that first encouraged me to give FOX 29 another shot,” she says. “He always told me, ‘If this is what you really want, don’t take no for an answer. Learn from your mistakes, work hard and try again.’”

Buckley's duties consist of pitching story ideas, writing, filming and editing all of her news packages. Once they are completed, she is called into the studio to make live appearances. “Being able to say I have made on-air appearances before I have even graduated is a very big advantage," she says. "I am very thankful to all the people that helped prepare me to take on this role.”

Buckley notes that her success throughout the resume building and interview process was largely aided by Lauren Nicolosi, a career advisor for the College of Liberal Arts. She also attributed her digital video skills to Dr. Shawn Kildea, associate professor and chair of the Department of Communication and Journalism, and her editorial touch to Dr. Jackie Incollingo, assistant professor of communication. She says the two professors gave her helpful feedback after each and every project assigned.

When applying for college, Rider’s small class size and welcoming campus in Lawrenceville drew Buckley’s attention. She decided to commit to the University at a journalism open house once she heard upperclassmen sharing their stories engaged inside the classroom and, with meaningful internship opportunities, outside of it as well.

Although confident in her choice of major, at times she was intimidated by the industry. “I always wanted to be a news reporter, but the industry is competitive and, like many people choosing a career, there were times that I doubted myself. Working with so many people from different backgrounds I realized, everyone has a different story and it’s about gaining confidence in your ability to do your job. I think working at my previous internships WNYW Fox 5 and Magic 98.3 helped me realize early on, even professionals working in the industry for years were all once interns looking to gain experience too.”