Journalism major talks internship with Dan Rather

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When senior mass communication major Alexis Bloomer was only 12 years old, she already had her life planned out.

At the age of 18, Bloomer dropped every scholarship opportunity she was offered from other colleges and accepted her admission to Sam Houston State University, jumping at the chance to intern with the university’s own journalism legend, Dan Rather.

“I came to SHSU because I wanted the opportunity to study with Mr. Rather, and I now know that this school provided me opportunities that no other university could,” Bloomer said. “I knew that Mr. Rather could teach me important real world tactics that I would not necessarily gain in the classroom. To study with for a summer is an irreplaceable opportunity that I could only get at SHSU.”

This past summer, Bloomer’s dreams of spending her summer in New York City with Rather became a reality.

“Everything that I have done up until this point in my college career has been working towards getting this internship,” Bloomer said. “I have counted down the years so that I could finally be old enough to apply. I have watched a majority of Mr. Rather’s interviews and knew his brand. I engaged myself in as much as possible and tried to excel in my classes so that I would be the perfect candidate.”

To apply for the coveted internship, students must be a mass communication major at SHSU, classified as either a junior or senior, maintain a certain GPA and write an essay.

Out of the many students who applied, only one was chosen.

Bloomer was told she had received the internship at the College of Mass Communication’s annual banquet in May 2014.

“It’s a funny story. When I first found out that I got the internship, I cried,” she said. “But it was almost a relief, because I have worked so hard and I wanted it more than I have ever wanted any other opportunity. It was overwhelming and it still hasn’t even sunk in that I spent my summer in New York with the iconic journalist that I grew up wanting to be like.”

Bloomer packed up her bags and moved halfway across the country to begin living out her dream June 15. During her time in the Big Apple, the young intern lived at Coral Tower, a building located on Union Square where other summer interns from around the world also stayed.

Bloomer said she performed numerous tasks during her internship, including transcribing scripts, editing shows and aiding Rather with his various social media. In addition, she was also able to accompany Rather on shoots with CNN, NBC and Al Jazeera America.

“I met so many unique people through this internship,” Bloomer said. “The most valuable thing I learned was to always make good connections and be available to perform any task. You can never be above a job or think you are overqualified to be doing something. Every component of creating a show is important and it takes all steps to make it work.”

Despite the tasks and projects Bloomer completed through her internship with Rather, she said the most impressive recollection she had of her summer in NYC came from just speaking one-on-one with the icon himself.

“My favorite memory will forever be sitting in Mr. Rather’s office and him talking to me one-on-one about life and news,” she said. “It is so surreal for a news nerd like me to sit down with a legend and talk to him about his opinions on issues or what books he was reading. He is definitely the most intriguing man I have ever met and made work fun to come to.”

According to Bloomer, the internship made her a better journalist in many ways, teaching her about life as well as how to report on various topics. Most importantly, she added that having “Dan Rather Intern” on her resume couldn’t hurt either.

“When applying for the internship, it helps to know where you will be working,” Bloomer said. “I think it helped because I knew a lot about Dan Rather Reports and I watched the show. Be yourself and always be available to help. Engage yourself in a lot of Mass Communication clubs and work hard in school, it pays off.”

Whatever the future holds, Bloomer said she plans to always stay true to the place where she got her start.

“After I graduate, I will hopefully get a job in news,” Bloomer said. “I will see what offers I get and go from there. I hope to have my own media company by the time I am 30, called ‘Break Records Media.’ Basically, wherever I am, I hope I’m reporting. But in the long run, I would love to always be an active alumna for SHSU.”