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After getting a taste of entertainment law at NBC through Lafayette's alumni externship program last winter, Michelle Vaisberg '04 (Holland, Pa.) served an internship at the broadcasting network's Program Content and Standards Department this summer. Her work influenced the content of network programs and provided a considerable advantage in her career pursuits.

Vaisberg says she took part in the externship program in January to confirm her interests in entertainment law. She shadowed Irving Brand '64, vice president of staff labor relations in NBC's legal department, at the Rockefeller Center headquarters during Lafayette's three-week interim session between semesters.

“He was kind enough to help me get my foot in the door, and he took my resume to human relations and strongly recommended that I be a summer intern at NBC,” says Vaisberg, a double major in anthropology & sociology and government & law. “The referral helped me land an interview.”

Vaisberg started her internship in the Program Content and Standards Department in June, staying until the third week in August. Her work included reviewing scripts, watching rehearsals, and reviewing song lyrics for the programs Late Night with Conan O'Brien and Last Call with Carson Daly. Her job was “to make sure the content was suitable for network television, that it was not offensive, and that the humor was sensible.”

“Because I was 'working standards' for late night NBC TV, Saturday Night Live was also our responsibility, but because it didn't tape in the summer, I mostly screened the rerun shows that would air,” adds Vaisberg. “In addition, I viewed theatrical films that would eventually air for a Sunday night movie. I recorded unsuitable content in conjunction with film time codes and requested that editing cuts be made by the company that produced the film. Cuts were made for bad language, adult content, sexual content, violence, etc. I also worked on ideas and target developments for the More You Know campaign, in which talent from top NBC shows tape a segment in which they give advice to parents and children.”

The diversity of the internship made it an interesting experience, she says.
“I was able to work with many different people on various projects,” notes Vaisberg. “I was fascinated by the fact that my single experience has since opened so many doors for me. Getting my foot in the door with NBC has helped me to get an interview at other corporations. I made tremendous social contacts through NBC. The experience was invaluable and will certainly help me with future employment.”

Vaisberg, who plans to attend law school and pursue a career in entertainment law, will intern with NBC again during the spring semester, working specifically with Saturday Night Live.

Her faculty adviser, David Shulman, assistant professor of anthropology and sociology, “has been great in advising me to exploit all the opportunities available to me with being at NBC,” she says. “I am currently doing an independent study here concerning my experiences this summer.”

Vaisberg is assistant membership chair for Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority and president of the group's Residence Hall Council Committee.

Categorized in: Academic News