What are the chances that two students from the same small town in West Virginia can make it big in network television? Two West Virginia University P.I. Reed School of Journalism students, Ashton Marra and Jamie McCracken, are hoping that the odds are pretty good. In fact, the television journalism seniors are off to a great start – snagging internships at ABC and ESPN.

Marra, a native of Clarksburg, W.Va., will be heading to New York City in January to begin her internship at ABC News. During her four months there, Marra will conduct research and team with producers and reporters to coordinate interviews. She may also have the chance to have bylined work on ABCNews.com. Marra, who reported for the School’s award-winning student newscast, “WVU News,” hopes this internship will help her learn what it takes to be successful in network television.

“I’m one hundred percent sure that I want to be in television,” said Marra. “As far as what aspect of television – whether I want to be a reporter or a producer – I’m not certain about that yet. I want to be sure that I’ve picked the right field for me and that I know what I’m getting into.”

Marra said she was inspired by her friend and peer, Jamie McCracken, who was selected for an internship at ESPN in Bristol, Conn., this fall. During his 10 weeks at ESPN, McCracken – also from Clarksburg – collaborated with producers and editors to cut highlights for “College Football Final” and “Sportscenter.”

McCracken said the opportunity to work with some of the “best in the business” gave him a new perspective he didn’t have before.

“The experience was so valuable,” said McCracken. “It wasn’t just another bullet point on my resume. For 70 days I did work. I was producing content and providing something to the network every day.”

McCracken intends to return to ESPN next summer for a second internship and plans to graduate in December 2012.

Marra plans to graduate upon completion of her internship in May 2012.



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CONTACT: Kimberly Walker, School of Journalism