Living The “Marist Dream”

When I was a freshman at Marist, I believed I was living in the teenaged version of the so-called “American Dream”. For the first time in my life, I was living two hours away from home in order to embark on a four year journey to discover my true self. I felt like I was taken in as a baby cub by the Marist community and vowed to stand out among my fellow foxes and become a leader within my community. In order to this, I established career goals for myself such as  studying abroad for a semester and interning for a major network by junior year.

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Fast forward two and a half years, and my plans seemed to crumble beneath my eyes. I had to back out of going abroad due to financial reasons and despite the success of my involvement on campus; I was still unable to land a summer internship. I was working at home just to make some cash, when my phone rang repeatedly with a number I didn’t recolonize. Out of curiosity I picked up, as a mysterious voice called out to me: You’ve been chosen to intern with NBC for the 2012 Summer Olympics! Apparently my internship advisor had sent in my application without my knowledge and in that moment my life changed forever. Even though I was  a little disappointed that I was interning in their NYC office, the fact that I was covering the Olympics made up for my abroad shortcomings.

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On July 20th, my dream had transformed into a reality as I walked through NBC’s revolving doors for the first time. I picked up my ID badge from the security desk and was escorted to the 8th floor, where the Highlights Factory was located. I was shocked to discover that I was actually working on the set of Saturday Night Live as the classic late night show was in its offseason. The main purpose of the Highlights factory was to receive the game feeds from our staff in London and transcend it in order to create content for the Website NBColympics.com.  As for my assignment, I became involved in a first time streaming operation that lead to the success of NBC’s coverage of the Olympic Games. NBC was airing every single event live on its website which allowed viewers to watch some events before they aired on television during primetime. For most events a cable subscription was required to watch, but every significant American event excluding soccer and basketball (they have their own television channels) was unauthorized, meaning anyone could watch the stream.

Along with monitoring the stream, my specific duties entailed figuring out the exact times to install advertisements in an Olympic event. The key to this operation was timing, as inserting an ad too late would cover up footage, so we had to watch tapes from the past games to figure out where to put ads and for how long in each sport. In addition, if we came across any errors or new ad opportunities, we were instructed to log our findings and discuss them at the following day’s group meeting.  We were divided into three separate 10-hour shifts, with the people who lived in closest proximity to 30 Rock, coming in to work first. Since I wasn’t staying in the city, I was assigned to the late shift which was 9:30 am- 7:30 am. The assignment lasted every day from July 20-August 12 even on the weekends. On occasion we would get out early at around 6pm if the all the games were finished and we did have about an hour of downtime between each feed. On average, I covered about 4 feeds a day and while I covered a lot of sports, I became the Beach Volleyball specialist.

While covering one of Misty May and Kerri Walsh’s games, I was told it was going to be the first event of the olymopics msgames that was going to be unauthorized. I was extremely nervous at first, knowing hundreds of thousands of people were going to watch my stream but my supervisor encouraged me to stay focused.  With his guidance, I was able to successfully make clean and accurate cuts to commercials while adhering to a peak audience of 332,000 people.  Another example of a game I covered was when Jen Kessy and April Ross who are the Americans’ B team in Beach Volleyball, went up against the top ranked Brazilian team.  The Americans were huge underdogs, especially with the field being drenched in the rain. While Jen Kessy’s feet were aching from the rain she never gave up as the Americans prevailed in three sets after losing the first one to make it an all American final for the first time in Women’s Beach Volleyball History. Knowing that I was able to show that historic event to the world via the Internet held a special place in my heart and made me realize even more that I want to pursue a career in production.

I feel as though I have grown so much over the course of my internship that I became an Olympian within my career field in the process. I went from being a red fox whose future was murky, to a Golden fox, who is now currently interning with NBC Sports Group and is aiming towards full time employment after graduation. I learned how to network and distinguish myself as a communications profession and now that I have real world experience in my field, I have created a new “American Dream” for myself. My new mission is to someday create an impact on the sports broadcasting world and to give back to my school by connecting future students with employment opportunities.  I don’t have all the answers as to where my future will lead me, but after my summer and fall internships with NBC Sports, I can finally see the light that leads to success.

-Nick Bitettolondon

Class of 2013

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