It is a particularly auspicious time to be a page, thanks to Tina Fey’s hit TV comedy “30 Rock,” on which Jack McBrayer plays Kenneth Parcell, a page with a heart of gold and a head full of helium. At 35, Mr. McBrayer is rather long in the tooth for the page program, which is usually peopled by recent college graduates. Mr. McBrayer was not a page himself. But he has been mistaken for one.
As endearing as Mr. McBrayer’s character is, the generally clueless Kenneth might not have made the cut in real life. Karissa Hoffman, manager of the page program, said she plowed through scores of applications every week. The basic requirements are a bachelor’s degree relevant to broadcasting, a grade-point average of least 3.0 and at least one internship in a related field. Ms. Saechao said the pages also shared one crucial characteristic: “We’re all hams.”
Ms. Saechao, who majored in broadcast journalism at the University of Oregon, first heard of the page program in the summer of 2007, from a CNN producer she met at a job fair. After two telephone interviews, she was flown in December to New York, where a panel of managers interviewed eight candidates at once. “They were stone-faced,” Ms. Saechao said of the interviewers. “My heart sank.”
Days later, Ms. Saechao was elated to learn that she had the job. She returned to the city late in February with three bags of clothes, found an apartment on Craigslist and started work.
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