In Her Own Words: Lauren Swanson's Internship at Discovery Channel

January 4, 2016 | By Lauren Swanson, 2L
Lauren Swanson sitting in the Animal Planet's Puppy Bowl Throne

During the summer of 2015, I was given the opportunity to test-run a dream job when I interned with the Discovery Channel in Silver Spring, Maryland. I applied for the position at a time when I was feeling pretty defeated about summer internships generally. I had gotten a lot of rejections, and decided it wouldn’t hurt to start applying for some long shots. My dream is to work in the entertainment industry, and I already had ties to the D.C. area, so this was an ideal opportunity. I applied through Discovery’s website completely blind, so even after two rounds of interviews, I was surprised when I ended up getting an offer. I instantly accepted.

Discovery does a structured internship program with a lot of events for the interns, including off-site visits and tours of production facilities, lunches, and lectures by high-level executives within the company. My supervisors encouraged me to take advantage of these development opportunities, and I am glad I did.

I was the only law student interning at the Silver Spring office, so I had a variety of projects and was always busy. My main work was with the rights group, where I read production and talent contracts to determine programing limitations; these contracts stipulated when and how often a show can air, and who gets paid when it does air. Because there were no other law student interns, I got pulled into projects for other departments as well. Probably my favorite side project was for Investigation Discovery, which is a smaller Discovery-owned network that specializes in true crime programing. In order to verify the continued accuracy of the network’s programing, someone needed to watch the shows, and verify the people profiled on each episode were still in jail, or that other statements within the programs were accurate. So, that’s right. I literally watched TV at work and got paid for it. Dream job.

One of the highlights of the summer for me was connecting with the other OU Law students interning in the Washington D.C. area. We managed to get together several times for various social outings.

My experience at Discovery Channel was incredibly rewarding, and completely different from any other internship I could have found. I learned firsthand how to write and edit contracts, and I was able to hear directly from network executives about their career paths. I’m looking forward to applying what I’ve learned from my internship experience to my career as a lawyer. Probably my biggest takeaway is to aim high – it never hurts to apply, and it might just work out.

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