Having a knack for the news

By Kyle Hobstetter on July 13, 2020

Recent alumna Natalie Bland turned an internship opportunity at WBAL into a full-time associate producer position

Natalie Bland in the WBAL Studios
Recent alumna Natalie Bland poses in the WBAL studios. After having an internship at the Baltimore NBC affiliate, the Essex, Maryland native now has a full-time position as an associate producer. 

Since the fifth grade, Natalie Bland knew she wanted to work in journalism. 

As an elementary school student, she joined the “TV Crew,” and helped produce the school’s news broadcasts. It was that first exposure to the broadcast news that shaped her education, even as she graduated from Towson University this past May with a degree in mass communications.

Last summer, Bland worked as an intern at WBAL, Baltimore’s NBC affiliate. It was a rotation program that gave her experience in all facets of broadcast news — reporting, producing, sales and creative services.

Once the internship was finished, she knew for certain that broadcast journalism was the path for her.

“It was an absolutely amazing experience and I cannot say enough wonderful things about WBAL,” Bland says. “I loved every second of it. There was so much more that goes into the 5 o'clock news than I ever thought.”

But even after the 11-week program was done, the Essex, Maryland-native isn’t finished with WBAL. Bland was offered a part-time job as an assignment editor, and following graduating in May, she was bumped up to a full-time associate producer.

When she was offered the full-time position, Bland couldn’t help but remember driving up to the studio with her dad for her initial internship interview. She remembered smacking his arm when she saw the sign.

That’s because after growing up watching the NBC affiliate, and seeing the news reporters on television, these people are now her colleagues. 

“I’ve always known that I wanted to work at WBAL,” Bland says. “I honestly was star struck meeting the reporters. Knowing that I get to work with these people every day, and have the opportunity to learn from these people every day, when they offered me the job, I was just speechless.” 

During her time at Towson University, she tried to get as much experience as she could, while working part-time jobs to help pay her bills. She wrote for The Towerlight her freshman year, and also wrote for the Baltimore Watchdog, a news website produced by Towson University journalism students and faculty.

Before coming to TU, Bland already had some experience in newsrooms with high school internships at some other local television stations. But when she got to TU, she got to work with professors like Jennifer Atwater, who worked for years at WMAR, Baltimore’s ABC affiliate.

“Having professors bring their real-world experience to the classroom was just a really awesome learning experience,” Bland says. 

Along with getting news experience, she has also worked on her producing skills by working as a videographer for the past three years at the Towson University Career Center. In fact, she got the job by looking at the Career Center’s job searching website, Handshake

During that time, she worked on a variety of projects to help promote the Career Center. This included producing, shooting and editing videos to promote Career Center events, initiatives and programs. She also worked to provide photography for the Career Center’s social media networks and website.

And while she got experience in video production, she also got another support system on campus in the Career Center staff. In fact, she credits Keith Jones, the Career Center’s assistant director of marketing and technology, for giving her opportunities.

“At the Career Center, I've had a wonderful amount of people I've come in contact with that believe in me and support me,” Brand says. “To have Keith be one of those people has been great. I've been here for three years, so he's seen me grow, he's seen my work, and just knowing that he knows that I can do it makes me feel better.”

As she takes career to the WBAL newsroom, Bland says she looks back on her time at TU fondly. From the professors, mentors, lifelong friends and even peers she’s had class with, this new alumna can’t say enough good things about her time as a Tiger. 

“Everyone asks me, how do you like Towson University? And I really have enjoyed every second of it,” Bland says. “From the friends I’ve made, to the experiences I’ve had, to the classes I’ve taken…it’s just been an amazing experience.”

This story is one of several related to President Kim Schatzel’s priorities for Towson University: Lifelong Career Center.