Name: Sam GaskinSchool: Clark Atlanta UniversityYear: SeniorAge: 22Hometown: Nashville, Tenn.Major: Communications, with an emphasis in TV and filmInternship: Public relations intern, Turner SportsPaid/Unpaid: UnpaidSchool credit: YesHours: Tuesday - Friday from 10 a.m. - 3 p.m.Duration: March - August 1, 2008
Clark Atlanta University senior Sam Gaskin used to spend most of his time on the basketball court, but this summer he's in the studio, working behind the scenes as a public relations intern for Turner Sports. Gaskin talks about his nerve-racking first day, getting to hang out with Kenny Smith, Charles Barkley and Ernie Johnson, Jr., and meeting legends like Magic Johnson and Dominique Wilkins.
How did you get the internship?My school counselor put me in contact with this lady. I kept in contact with her and then one day she told me there was an opening.
How have you spent your other summers?I have been working regular jobs and doing basketball camps. Last year I did this Georgia Tech basketball camp in July as a counselor. I also played basketball my freshman and sophomore year at Clark as a walk-on.
Why did you pick this job?When I went in for the interview the environment was everything I wanted. It was basketball season and Kenny Smith and Avery Johnson were there. The whole Turner Sports environment and what they said I was going to do -- it was all just the right thing for me.
What was your first day like? Were you nervous?Yeah, I was nervous. I felt like the new guy. The little tasks they asked me to do, well I messed up a little bit. It was uncomfortable, but I'm glad I got it over with. Now everything is routine. I love going over there. It's nothing stressful.
What do you do on most days?Everyday is really different, but I have a lot of things I do as a routine. I look at the different news Web sites and find anything they did with Turner Sports or the analysts for basketball and baseball. I compile it all and organize it and send it to the manager of media. Then, I send it out to all the Turner Sports email addresses. There is also a press release site that I update and make sure it stays organized. I also check the TNT basketball and TBS baseball MySpace accounts and handle those. I also make sure the sports library is organized. It's where they put the magazines, books, and posters. I have to update the radio talk show list. I have to put it in order and make sure it stays current. If any analyst works for TBS or TNT and they appear on one of those shows, I have to take notes. Just things like that.
Where is the job?Atlanta.
Where are you living?In an apartment down the street. It's like 10 minutes from school and 5 minutes from Turner.
Any perks?Getting to meet Kenny Smith, Ernie Johnson, Jr., Charles Barkley and the guest analysts. I also get Braves tickets, Hawks tickets, and get discounts at Six Flags. People get tours of the TNT studio, but I don't have to stand in line and I get guest passes for my family and friends.
Have you met any other famous people?During basketball playoffs I met Chris Webber, Avery Johnson, Dwyane Wade and sometimes when I am in my cubicle working they will be talking to Craig Sager, one of the analysts. I met Dominique Wilkins at a luncheon and I also met Magic Johnson.
What's been the toughest part?The toughest part is the down time. even though it's not that bad. I love hanging out with people at work. But this week, Turner Sports is doing the British Open and everyone is gone. It's real quiet and there isn't much to do.
Since you're not paid, how are you getting by?I'm a life guard at Buckhead YMCA. I usually do it on Mondays and Thursdays and on the weekends.
Have you had to save anyone's life?Luckily, I haven't. I've just been breaking up horse play.
What do you do for lunch?Usually, I bring my own lunch or go to the cafeteria downstairs. At least once a week my co-workers and I go out to eat at random restaurants.
What's been the best part?The best part is basketball season, mainly during the spring and early summer. I am more of a basketball type of guy. I was able to see things that not that many people see. I went to the studio after school and saw the pre-game show. When that is not on, you get to watch the games on TV with the whole crew and see the analysts' real personalities.
Biggest down side?The down time or when they have me focused on something I don't care that much about like NASCAR.
What is most unique about this internship?Most people just sit around doing office work at their internships. I sit around and do the same thing, but its something I like; I love being around sports. And Turner Sports is like a college campus. It's fun and there's always something to do.
Is this something you want to do in the future? If not, what do you want to pursue?It's definitely something I want to do in the future. I always thought PR wasn't what I wanted to do, but I really like the Turner atmosphere here. I just have to find my niche. I definitely wouldn't mind being here in PR.
What's your dream job?Being another version of Stuart Scott on ESPN or Stephen A. Smith. Just being on air, having my own personality and my own show. Being able to do that in the studio and at games would be amazing.
Any funny stories from your experiences at your internship?I believe it was the New Orleans vs. San Antonio series right before halftime. Avery Johnson was at the commentary chair and Charles Barkley and Kenny Smith were there, too. Kenny Smith didn't see this speed bump thing they had on the floor and he tripped and fell really hard and it made a really loud noise. Then he got up and had to get ready to go on camera and was trying to act like nothing happened. Then he said, "I'm an athlete. The pain doesn't affect me." Nobody else was laughing but it was so funny to me. I was trying not to laugh or make any noise.