Former Resident, Parks, Pursues Dream Job In Nation’s Capitol
By BRIAN GELINAS
ATHOL — Some people are lucky, and are afforded in life the chance to pursue what they would consider their “dream job.” One such person is former Athol resident Corwin Parks, who, at 19, already holds a U.S. House and Senate Press Pass and spends his days behind the camera in Washington, D.C., as part of a Capitol Hill reporting crew for Cybercast News Service, which is based in Alexandria, Va.
The position is a paid internship which, in a relatively short time (he’s been interning just over a month), has already put him on the political front lines in the nation’s capitol.
“My very first interview was with the president of the Czech Republic. The second interview that I shot was an interview with Cardinal Roger Mahony, and, to be honest, I really like this job because I get a chance to catch people [saying] some dumb things on camera — for the world to see — which Cardinal Mahony did,” Parks said in a recent interview. “What’s great about this job [too] is the amount of famous politicians that you see on a weekly basis. Given that the team that I work with and I are constantly on the Hill, I have gotten a chance to see people like John McCain, John Kerry and Joe Lieberman [and others].
“I think that one of the shoots that really stands out to me is when my colleague Nick and I went to Michael Moore’s red carpet event for ‘Capitalism, A Love Story.’ Although I don’t agree with his ideals and didn’t like his movies, I must admit I was a little star struck. While I cannot give too much away, I’ll drop two names of people that I know I will be interviewing/meeting very soon, and they are Eva Longoria, and former President Bill Clinton.”
Parks lived in Athol for about five to six years with his father Robert Parks, his older brother Rob and their stepsister Paige, and their father’s fiancee, until moving with his father to Manassas, Va., this past summer.
“Although I live in Manassas and the news company that I work for is located in Alexandria, I do most of my work in Washington, D.C., primarily in the Capitol Building,” Parks said. “That’s the cool thing about having a U.S. House and Senate Press Pass; I can go pretty much anywhere in the nation’s capitol that is restricted to the public, including some parts of the White House.”
Parks, who will turn 20 in January, said he is not currently attending college but technically would be considered a sophomore this semester if he were. “With the full time internship that pays, I figured why would I pay go to school to learn something that I am pretty much getting paid already to do professionally,” he said. “Even though it is an internship, I believe that the in-class knowledge I would receive at a college would not compare to the experiences and knowledge that I am currently receiving.”
The application process for the internship included a requirement to submit two pieces of writing, and a resume, said Parks. The two pieces of writing he provided were a somewhat controversial essay he’d written at Mount Wachusett Community College in Gardner on the movie “Crash” and an essay he wrote at Athol High School on William Shakespeare’s “Hamlet.”
“After submitting those, I guess they were impressed with my writing,” said Parks. “[And] Cybercast News Services offered me a reporter position.”
Although he was offered such a position, Parks said he asked if he could instead work with the reporting team behind the camera rather than in front, as that is where his level of expertise lies. He was given his position of choice.
Parks explained that his interest in the news media developed, in part, because of his father, who, while in Athol, served on the town’s finance committee and made a run for state representative, challenging current State Rep. Christopher Donelan (D-Orange).
“Growing up, my father has been deep into politics. Whether it is running for Congress in Los Angeles or running for state representative in Athol, I’ve always been right there with him,” Parks said. “Also, my father has always been in television, so I guess you can say that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. Everything that I know, he has taught me, and also with the help of Athol-Orange Television. Most people know that I have volunteered at AOTV for about 80 percent of the duration of my stay in Athol, so, because of this, my aspirations of being in television were further cemented.”
The apple doesn’t fall from the tree for Parks as far as politics are concerned either, and he doesn’t hold back on his opinions. Asked about his thoughts on the Obama presidency and working in D.C. at a pivotal moment in history, he had this to say:
“Given my ethnicity, I would suppose that the answer that would be most assumed is that I like Obama and love him as president … Personally, I don’t like the guy; I think he has this hubris that is just sickening and isn’t qualified to be this nation’s president. Also, we are in a war. No matter whose war it is — because I know how people like to say that this is Bush’s war — we are in a war nonetheless. Shouldn’t it be the job of the commander-in-chief to back the general and the troops on the front line? Isn’t it his job to at least make contact? Or should the commander-in-chief be taking vacations and trying to get the Olympics to come to Chicago?”
Parks said further, “I just don’t agree with his policies; simply, his extreme liberal views. Capitalism is out and socialism is in. I also don’t like the fact that he won the presidency because he is black rather than what he proposed to do.
“Also, I would like to know what he hopes to change. I mean, all we hear is ‘hope’ and ‘change,’ but it is never clarified what is set to change and what is of significance that we should hope for.”
Although he had the idea he would start out in the news media genre and is currently amid the political hotbed, Parks said he would, in the long term, “love to work somewhere for Fox NFL Sunday or NFL On CBS. “I mean, I do like the news media genre because you get to see first hand what is going on in politics and in our country before the media bias and spin,” he said.. “But as for a career until I eventually retire, I don’t see this genre being the ‘end all, be all’ for me.”
Parks’ interest in working in the sports field is likely fed by his love for the game of football. “I have this infatuation with the game … I played football for Athol under Rocky Stone — a great coach — where I suffered a drastic shoulder injury,” he explained. “That injury completely killed any thought of playing in college, or even professionally … When I’m not watching NFL Network, or working, I can be found writing and/or drawing.”
Commenting on his son’s foray into the field of on-line news casting and his success at being chosen for the internship, Robert said recently, “Cory has seemed to turn his life around. Once given some opportunities, he’s more than taken advantage of them and is laying the groundwork for a fine career. I don’t know how proud I am of him yet [though], because he’s doing what he should be, but if Cory continues to grow, many people in Athol might proudly say they knew him ‘when.’”