When Grace Hedges ‘14 reported to her summer internship at the New York studios for NBC Dateline in early June, she wasn’t sure if her initial assignment to surf the web and look for “sketchy” offerings on Craigslist and backpage.com was legitimate or something she was being asked to do to pass time in lieu of significant work.
Little did she know that within five months, her investigative research and hidden video work would result in her receiving credit as an assistant producer for the Oct. 26, 2012 Dateline episode titled “Wild Wild Web.”
“I was pleased to have been assigned to the investigative unit for Dateline NBC,” said Hedges, a double major in media and society and writing and rhetoric. “It introduced me to investigative research, something I had never done before and enjoyed very much.”
Hedges was introduced to Investigative Producer Dan Slepian on her first day working for the network. Working with Slepian through the duration of her internship, Hedges along with the other interns spent the summer reviewing hundreds of online postings on sites such as Craigslist, AdHunter, and Backpage.com in an attempt to unveil questionable postings. Once the interns established online aliases to initiate e-mail dialogue in order to make personal contact with those behind the skeptical ads found, the investigative team went undercover to interview and film those individuals.
Hedges also assisted with the production of another significant case during her time with NBC Dateline; the shooting at the theater in Aurora, Colorado.
“It was the weekend of the shooting that I received a phone call from one of the producers at Dateline asking for extra assistance over the weekend with transcribing tapes and logging video clips due to the events that occurred during the midnight showing of the Dark Knight Rises,” Hedges explained.
“Although a horrible tragedy, the crash production was an eye opening for me to experience and see the way the news is produced in the midst of a breaking news story.”
Hedges hopes to return to NBC next summer and is looking forward to the writing and rhetoric semester abroad program in Rome during the fall 2013 semester of her final year at Hobart and William Smith Colleges.
On campus, Hedges is also a member of the William Smith swimming and diving team.