The 18 year old C

For years I would never wear sunglasses. I thought people would think I was trying too hard to be cool. I felt the same way about blogs when they came along. Despite telling clients to blog, no way I was going to publish my personal diary.  But yesterday, I found a report card for a summer internship I did at the pre-Maria Bartiromo CNBC.

Eighteen years later, that ugly C on my report card is my inspiration for getting back in to the media (albeit new media) game through my lowly little blog.

In ’91 I desperately wanted to be in the news media. The first Asian male on NBC News, I thought.  Really, any role would do so long as my name scrolled down the credits. I elbowed my way into two separate internships — one at NBC News and the other at CNBC.  Three days a week I took the train into midtown; the other three I puttered along the Cross Bronx Expressway to Fort Lee.

Maria Bartiromo outside of CNBC studios

Maria Bartiromo outside of CNBC studios

My role at NBC couldn’t have been more insignificant. I archived video footage for use by the news and production teams.  My title should’ve been ‘assistant intern to the should-be-retired video librarian.’ I watched hours of footage a day with the occasional shot of running a tape to the news team. It wasn’t so bad, though. Phil Donahue was on my floor and I did have the opportunity to run by him and smile. Phil remembers. The worst part was having to watch footage of Greg Louganis hitting his noggin on a diving board — not once, but 4 times.

Over in the Garden State, I was a bit more on the front lines. I worked with a production team on some cool shows. My boss was Steve Livingstone.  For the sake of credibility, that’s his real name. He busted his hump to cut a package, book a guest or make the talent happy. He was a machine and I did everything I could to be just like him.  Except…

…for the day when he whited-out the A and gave me the most expensive C I’ve ever paid for.

Steve asked me to sneak a tape out of the NBC News archives that he couldn’t seem to get through the proper channels. He asked me several times and I blew it off till finally I said it wasn’t going to happen. And looking back now, the only thing I wish I had the chutzpah to say then was ‘go pound sand.’

I made a left turn from the news media from there and blew my shot at being Maria Bartiromo’s key grip without even knowing it! Well, at least I don’t have to get up early to wash both faces.

Now, where are my sunglasses?

– Jose Mallabo

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