By Petyr Xyst
My name is Petyr Xyst, and I’m currently an intern at NMPBS in the Marketing and Communications department. I’m a freshman attending UNM as a film major, coming from basically an entire life lived in Seattle. My time here at New Mexico PBS coincided with my gradual adjustment to a new climate, a new culture, and a restructuring of my life beyond high school.
My position here feels very surreal. I often have to assure myself that I actually have the ability to perform my job well, but in reality it’s the culmination of years of hobby work and extensive self-education. In my mind it’s what Roman philosopher Seneca described luck as: “where preparation meets opportunity.”
I don’t know if he actually said that, or if anybody actually knows who did, but the internet said he did so I’ll take it. Cautiously.
So, what exactly is it that I do? I’m not incredibly sure myself. I was hired under the moniker of Promotions Assistant, which one would assume involves seemingly-menial-but-actually-critically-important tasks like updating data, copywriting, and other general tasks aimed at making the jobs of the staff easier; that’s not an incorrect guess, but it’s overly simplistic. I’m actually involved in fairly significant tasks, most of which revolve around being good with a computer rather than good at coin-counting.
I have routine tasks such as updating YouTube content with particular branding and SEO (search engine optimization) to fit more with our brand as a whole (turning a regular upload into a piece of content with custom thumbnails, tagging so our videos can be found through search and recommended, adding points of interest like “Want more New Mexico in Focus? Click here”, and then connecting them to each program’s webpage), updating the homepage so you don’t see outdated content, helping produce email newsletters, producing on-air kids IDs, and generating graphics for all parts of the station.
The job allows a lot of latitude in conveying my interests into assignments, but is bad in that it’s really hard to explain it. I’ve already written two fairly sized paragraphs in pursuit of describing (both to you and to myself) my position and I still haven’t done it. Let me describe what happened today (March 26 2019), and maybe that will illustrate my position in some form of context.
The first thing that I did was add photo thumbnails to the New on Passport page. After that, I updated the homepage slideshow for the month of April, as each slide is timed to be seen and to disappear at a certain date. After scheduling that, I updated the students webpage to reflect the fact that we had indeed hired more students.
After doing more revisions on this blog post, wherein I’ve been told to cut my (historically-based) references to Thanos, it’s likely I’ll be revising new kids graphics to be aired on Cinco de Mayo and Mother’s Day — reworking shape elements into full animations using Adobe’s Creative Suite, incorporating camera movement, object placement, color, and sound. From concept to final product, producing each of these IDs take about a week, juggled among the other tasks I need to complete in time.
This has been a technical day, mostly focusing on website support and updates, but these tasks are the consistent bedrock that bigger, more creatively individual projects leap off of. Across a few days or a week I’ll be producing newspaper ads for screenings, or doing research into how we can put a stake in emerging media like Snapchat. Sometimes I’ll be involved with the Production department, peeking into tapings or talking to editors cutting segments that’ll be aired weeks later.
All around, this job has been extremely beneficial, not only for my desperate need for financial security but also for my education and personal growth; I’m always trying to figure out how things work no matter what department they’re in or if they’re seemingly unconnected to my current interests. I talk to my co-workers and exchange banter that’s somehow both ridiculous and insightful into adult life. I’m learning aspects of marketing and web design, both tools I never would have thought would enter my lexicon but have proven to be hugely helpful in my own hobbies and passions.
I didn’t really know what to expect entering this position, and although I have a better sense of the flow my position takes, I’m still not quite sure what it is that I do. I guess in the process of writing it though, I’ve come to terms with the prospect that I don’t necessarily need a concrete title to be able to do pedagogic and satisfying work. I didn’t mean for a blog post about an intern working at a PBS station to be weirdly metaphysical, but it looks like that’s where we are. I can live with that.