Ask any American, “What is the nation’s most successful investigative TV show in history?” and the answer will likely and correctly be 60 Minutes. Now in its 52nd season at CBS, the primetime Sunday series regularly makes the Nielsen’s Top 10 list weekly, drawing nearly 11 million viewers.
Eleven million viewers! That’s heady stuff. So, earlier this year, when Tyne Phillips, a 22-year-old University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa journalism major in the College of Social Sciences (CSS), heard about the CBS News Internship program, the senior didn’t plan to pursue it. “But one day after class, I was talking to (CSS staffers) Bernadette Baraquio and Sherrie White, and they both encouraged me to apply. They thought I had a real chance at getting the internship.”
They were right. Phillips was selected from more than 4,420 applicants to become one of only 48 college interns at the CBS Broadcast Center in New York City—and the only one from Hawaiʻi. She interned at 60 Minutes, then, after the internship ended on a Friday in August, Phillips made a smooth transition the following Monday to a full-time news associate’s job at CBS Evening News with Norah O’Donnell.
One of only 11 news associates in the international CBS News organization, her hectic daily responsibilities range from doing research for multiple producers, to answering phone calls in the control room during the weekday broadcast and the network’s frequent breaking news reports.
“When I come to work every morning, I never know what type of story or which producer I get to work with. It’s very exciting to play a role in a global network news broadcast,” said Phillips. “On a crazy day, we’ll have around one to three special reports, which then consists of me running into the control room, answering phone calls and printing scripts while we go live on big breaking news. When that happens, I realize how lucky I am to play a part in documenting major key events in history.”
UH journalism class solidifies her passion for news
Phillips grew up in East Honolulu and attended Kaiser High School, graduating in 2015. “I’ve been interested in the news industry since I was a child, it’s something that just stuck with me,” she said. “So when I started my college career at UH Mānoa, I took the introduction to journalism class, Journalism 150, which solidified my passion for news.”
“In the lower level journalism classes, you learn the core values and basics of journalism and news writing. When you get to the upper level courses, you are writing and producing your own stories for all platforms: broadcast, print and digital,” she added.
The classroom and campus education led to accolades for Phillips. In 2019, she won an informational graphics award from the state chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists for “UH Impacts Immigration,” a broadcast story about a William S. Richardson School of Law professor and his students who are helping immigrants in Hawaiʻi with their citizenship status. She was also selected to intern at the Honolulu Star-Advertiser last spring and subsequently was hired on as temporary staff, where she covered the abrupt closing of 57-year-old Libby Manapua Shop, the burglary of actor Jeff Goldblum’s hotel room in Waikīkī and spring commencement ceremonies at the Stan Sheriff Center at UH Manoa, among other stories.
Graduating this past summer, and with her current goal of advancing to producer, Phillips fondly looks back on her journalism education at CSS and urges other UH Mānoa graduates to apply for internships that might initially seem unachievable, like the CBS News Internship Program, which ultimately led to her internship at 60 Minutes.
“It really helped me gain a better understanding of what the current news industry is like and how it functions,” she said. “The great thing about it, in particular, is that all of the producers and editors are very understanding with interns, and take the time to actually walk you through things and help you learn. You will leave the internship enriched and better equipped to enter the career field.”