Each year, the Kentucky Press Association
teams up with universities across the commonwealth to give students
a taste of the world of journalism and newspapers. Here are some thoughts
from this yearís crop of interns on their experiences in the field:
had a great experience working for my editor, Greg Wells, at the
Times-Journal in Russell County. Practicing rural journalism can
be difficult at times due to fewer events and a small population,
however, Greg kept us busy and taught me through example how to dig
up stories when options seemed sparse.
I made the right choice by coming to the Times-Journal. The fact
that I was one of only three writers on staff (including Greg) allowed
me to get ample page space in each weekly edition.
I also was able to pursue larger, in-depth feature stories in addition
to the grind of hard news. Greg gave me a lot of control on my larger
stories and that allowed me to grow as both a reporter and writer.
There were two feature stories I did this summer of which Iím particularly
proud. The first was a report on the Hispanic population of Russell
County. I talked with many Hispanics in the area, giving them a voice
to express their perspectives on the area and its people.
The other story Iím particularly happy with focused on the debate
over church and state that occurred when a local student contacted
the ACLU in order to have the prayer at his graduation blocked by
a federal judge. It was an action that angered many local residents,
rallying them to unity. However, I felt the story of the student
who had initiated the controversy had been left out of the initial
media response and so I decided to give that person a voice in the
community. The story turned out very well and explored the reasons
the student had felt it necessary to contact the ACLU.
My overall experience at the Times-Journal has been valuable and
enriching and I would highly recommend others to seek an internship
at this particular paper.
Central-Kentucky News Journal
I woke up on the first day of my internship at the Central-Kentucky
News Journal, the butterflies in my stomach were intense. I didn't
know what to expect.
I was worried how the staff would feel about me and if they would
like my writing. Then I started to worry about the thousands of other
people who subscribed to the paper and how they would react to the
way I wrote, for each writer has a different way of wording things.
But I soon realized there was nothing to worry about, that I was
just experiencing the jitters from starting something new in life.
After I arrived and got settled in, my first story was about the
upcoming local high school graduations. I kept having to call the
schools back to ask more questions and I felt, in a way, stupid because
I was very nervous and I'd forget an important question to ask.
When my editor and I went over my story, she literally butchered
the story, but she told me that she does the same to other writers'
stories and even her own. So that took away the anxiety.
As I have worked here for the past 10 weeks, I've come to realize
that this is what I want to do for the rest of my life. I'm very
curious about what's going on in the community, in the state and
around the world. My husband calls me a "news junky" because all
I do is go online and check out the news and the weather.
In addition, to be able to have this opportunity and do what all
journalists experience on a daily basis is amazing and a fresh reward.
Besides, I like meeting new people everyday; it's pretty cool and
Throughout my 10-week stay, I have learned a whole bunch:
ē Some stories are different than others.
ē Some stories are kind of boring such as city council meetings.
ē Sometimes it feels like you're pulling teeth to get someone to
talk to you - even if you ask that person the same question over
ē What you learn at school doesn't apply in the real newspaper
business, even if the professor says it will.
ē Grammar is still not my best subject.
ē No matter what you write, you'll often end up making someone
mad, although I really haven't experienced that, yet.
My stay here has been amazing. I learned things that I wouldn't
have learned at school, and I had the opportunity to meet some very
interesting people. The people I worked with were very kind and extremely
helpful, especially the editor. I'm just glad she never got angry
every time I made the same mistakes over and over.
Overall, I enjoyed my stay and I would do it again in a heartbeat.
As for the future, who knows, but what I do know is that I want to
work at a local newspaper and do something that I love to do, which
is cover the news, meet new people and write about it.
was 2:30 a.m., and I was basking in the flashing lights of a police
car that had just pulled me over.
I was doing 45 mph in a 35 zone. The Madisonville police need more
The middle-of-the-night infraction started when I was settling
down to sleep and got a bad feeling that there might be something
wrong with my story. I wanted to fix it. The officer running my license
plate number had other plans.
The police officer returned to the car with my license and registration.
He said the good news was that I wasnít going to jail. The bad news
was that I had to step out of the car and dance to get off with a
They really do need more work.
I started to unfasten my seat belt because, hey, I have some moves,
but the officer was kidding. He turned me loose with an admonition,
and I finished my mission to the paper at a solid 35 mph.
The events that donít go as planned, the times when you do something
crazy because you love your job are the memories that stick with
Madisonville was good to me. I saw how professionals handle difficult
situations, and I became a better journalist.
But I think the events I remember most will always include the
time I was asked to dance in the street to avoid a ticket and the
time I defended my story and won when a small-town mayor didnít like
what Iíd written.
Those are the things that remind me why I care enough to do this
spent my first summer away from home interning at The Anderson News
in Lawrenceburg. Even though my real home was 130 miles away, the
people of Lawrenceburg and the staff at The News made me feel like
I was one of their own.
For the first time in my short journalism career, I got the opportunity
to work at a weekly paper, an interesting change of pace from the
dailies to which I had been accustomed.
While at The News I got the chance to meet, interview, photograph
and write about many of the people in Lawrenceburg. I covered stories
about a man who traveled all the way from Bangladesh to meet his
teenage "girlfriend" whom he'd met on the Internet, about a tree
that smashed into the roof of an American Legion clubhouse during
a storm and about kids in the neighborhood who really didn't have
anything to do.
One of the things I enjoyed the most was having the chance to write
a weekly column and getting comments from readers on my thoughts
and opinions, whether the columns focused on how to survive one's
first year at college or how I thought the media showed us a little
too much of Iraqi terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi after his death.
I'll have to admit, though, the best part of working at The News
was actually working with the people there. I was surrounded by professionals
who knew what they were doing and who always had answers to my questions.
And even though I was just "the intern," they were nothing but nice
to me and showed me the respect they would show to any other journalist.
While at The News, I strove to give the residents of Lawrenceburg
and Anderson County reliable information they could count on week
after week. I hoped I served them well.
Getting to know a new town is always a distinct enjoyment, and the
smell of Sara Lee greeted me as I began my work as the Kentucky Press
Association intern for The Sentinel-Echo in London. In that smell,
I experienced adventure, drama and changes in management.
For half the summer at The Sentinel-Echo, I had the pleasure of
sharing an office with the former managing editor. My desk was crammed
in one cozy little corner of the office, and I sometimes felt like
the misfit who gets shoved in the corner when he or she does something
wrong. But space in the office was pretty limited, especially when
network hook ups were concerned.
I appreciated spending time with the reporters and learning methods
they use to get their job done in the best and most moral way possible.
Although reporters see many tragic events, some still manage to maintain
their humanity. Anyone can respect that.
In my chronicles of experience from KPA internships, I can write
a new chapter. This summer, I covered my first fatality. I know that
as soon as my family reads this, they will be horrified at my use
of casual language with the concept of death. But, as most of you
out there know, covering the bad is a job that must be done. We write
about a community and the people who live in it, and we always write
about members who leave it, in one form or another.
I enjoyed my time in London and look forward to using the experiences
I gained here in the future.
as an advertising intern at the Times Leader this summer has allowed
me to meet new people, learn more about the newspaper business and
living on my own.
Although this was my second KPA internship, I was not for sure
what to expect. This time the internship was not in a town I was
familiar with and I was selling advertising. My main project for
the summer was to sell for special sections that would run in the
paper throughout the year, but the job didnít stop there. I would
also help in the front office answering calls and waiting on customers.
From doctors to restaurant owners to lawyers to community members
wanting to buy a subscription to the paper I was able to meet and
get to know several people in the town.
Being able to work with (Publisher) Chip (Hutcheson) and the rest
of the staff at the Times Leader has been a wonderful experience.
I got to see what it takes to get a bi-weekly newspaper on newsstands.
As I leave Princeton I am not only taking memories and learned
lessons with me, but also several friendships. These 10 weeks have
been 10 weeks of reassuring me this is what I want to do.
Coming into this internship, I was unsure what I would take away
from it but the last 10 weeks have given me much-needed direction.
I can actually see myself making a career in journalism. Meeting
deadlines, following hunches and the sense of really connecting with
a community ó it all sends shivers down my spine. Perhaps that is
what this internship is all about.
Having lived my whole life in the community where my internship
placed me, I already had a certain familiarity with the people and
places. Working at the News-Herald, however, has allowed me to meet
so many new people on entirely different terms, something for which
I am grateful.
The KPA internship has also been a tremendous learning experience.
Patti, my editor, showered me with opportunities that I was more
than ready to explore. Not only have I become a better writer, but
I have learned to design and layout pages, process submitted material
and train my eyes and ears to recognize news-worthy events when they
happen. Certainly, there were times ears to recognize news-worthy
events when they happen. Certainly, there were times when I was overwhelmed ó my
editor on vacation, the design, layout and publication of an issue
of the newspaper was put in my hands. It was that week, though, that
I proved to myself that I might actually be cut out for this.
I cannot stress enough what an eye-opening experience this has
been. Walking away with a sense of accomplishment, I look forward
to the path on which I find myself.
knew a summer internship could involve wild motorcycle rides, burning
buildings, smashed up cars and deep fried Oreos?
When I was chosen as one of 20 Kentucky Press Association interns
this summer, I had no idea that community journalism would require
me to be a jack of all trades and a daredevil to boot.
I have some experience in journalism. I'm a communications major
at the University of Louisville and I was the news editor of the
student newspaper, the Louisville Cardinal, for a year.
Those who have been in the field longer than I've been alive laugh
when they hear that and then try to warn me about the profession.
Bad hours, bad pay and no life outside work, they say.
I say if you love what you do, you'll never work a day in your
At least, that's what I said before I worked 10 weeks at a community
The Pioneer News is located in Shepherdsville. The paper covers
all of the small towns in Bullitt County; eight officially incorporated
I felt prepared when I began my internship. I knew how to be concise,
leave myself out of the story and get the job done. I thought I knew
what was expected of me.
I knew my job would require me to meet a lot of new people, but
I didn't know I'd have to approach strangers on the street to ask
them "people poll" questions. I quickly became accustomed to both
rudeness and people who wanted to tell me everything they personally
felt was wrong with the county.
I knew I'd be covering city council meetings, but I didn't know
how heated the debates could become.
I knew I'd be writing new business stories, but I didn't realize
I'd be the one counting down at their ribbon cuttings.
I knew that I'd see car accidents, but I didn't know I'd have to
walk over a mile by the side of the road to get to them because traffic
can get so backed up.
I knew I'd see house fires but I never imagined I'd see children,
with no shoes on, sitting in a yard across the street watching their
house burn down.
I knew I'd be an intern, but I didn't know how much I'd learn.
Or how much fun I'd have.
This internship has allowed me many unique experiences. Early one
morning I drove 20 minutes to report on a house fire, only to find
all the fuss was caused by a pot of burned beans. On a separate occasion
I was able to spend several hours with children at a Muscular Dystrophy
summer camp. "Tattoo" Charlie Wheeler was there to give the kids
rides in his motorcycle's sidecar. They were hesitant, so I went
first to pave the way. Another day, my co-workers and I ate deep
fried Oreos while covering the county fair.
I've learned more during my time at the Pioneer News than in all
of my journalism classes combined. The editor has never let me get
in over my head, but he expects me to do my job. I've learned to
juggle stories and still make deadlines. After seeing my carefully
laid plans blown to bits by breaking news, I've learned to roll with
the punches. And that working late hours is just part of the job.
I still say if you love what you do you'll never work a day in
your life: you'll work nights, too.
Although I've called Winchester home for all my 21 years, I've
learned more about this town and met more people this summer than
I could have imagined. I have received much more than the expected
lessons about the ins and outs of a newspaper.
Since joining The Winchester Sun May 15, I've learned about the
town's politics and the way things work. I've discovered that downtown
is actually a lovely, bustling part of the city, and not the obsolete,
worn-down area with nothing to offer someone my age that I'd always
thought it to be.
I've met and become friendly acquaintances with several firefighters
and police officers (although it may not necessarily be a good thing
since I now catch myself speeding more often and caring less).
Numerous people have introduced themselves to me, telling me they've
enjoyed my features and look for my byline in each issue.
I've talked to interesting people who had stories that were aching
to be told, and I'm going to have the opportunity to interview and
meet a country singer that I'm a big fan of in September.
My internship at the Winchester Sun has truly been a positive experience.
It was great to come home from college for the summer and write for
the newspaper that I grew up reading. I've loved seeing my name on
the Sun's pages, and I now know firsthand how a daily professional
newspaper works. Iím also looking forward to my future as a journalist
now more than ever because of the friendly, encouraging atmosphere
that greets me every day from the moment I walk through The Sun's
I've grown as a sports and features writer, lay out designer, photographer
and reporter over the past 10 weeks. But more importantly, I have
seen the heart and character of Winchester and have become proud
to call it my hometown.
a 60-foot tree fell across Main Street in Danville for no apparent
reason, it became the fourth or fifth tree (the others fell in storms)
I wrote about for the Advocate-Messenger. That's the closest to sameness
my internship ever was.
I had no time to be bored, not even in the beginning; there was
no "getting used to everything" period. On my third day, John Nelson,
the editor, asked me if I wanted to write on deadline. Because I
knew the question was rhetorical and saying no wasn't an option,
I said "sure." I was nervous, but I did it. I got my story in just
ten minutes late (it could have been worse considering nobody answered
their phones that morning).
After that, I was in. I never felt like an outsider, or "just an
intern." When John told me there was nothing he wouldn't send me
to cover, I believed him. And he quickly proved it.
I never fetched coffee, or made copies, or shredded paper. I learned;
I reported; I wrote.
I wrote about Scott Bottoms, a single dad who coached his sons'
baseball teams and was retiring. I wrote about a peach tree that
looked like it took fertility drugs (it sprouted so many peaches
its owners had to tie its branches to its trunk to keep them from
breaking off). I met and told the story of a local woman who needs
a kidney to save her from the dialysis machine that holds her prisoner
four hours a day, four days a week.
I also reported harder news: a boy nearly drowned at church camp,
how the schools are attempting to combat childhood obesity, how the
family court refuses people access to their records.
I worked for the Advocate-Messenger just ten weeks (it felt like
two), but I feel I made a difference. My short time there will be
forever imprinted on those news pages ? pages that tell people things
they would never know otherwise.
Erin L. McCoy
LaRue County Herald News
weeks are over ≠ ten weeks that started out as a flurry of information,
new faces and new landscapes, and ended as one of the best learning
experiences Iíve ever gotten tangled up in.
Iíve finished my term as The LaRue County Herald Newsí summer intern,
and canít help but be a little sad. Learning about this place, and
the people in it, from every possible angle has been my goal since
I arrived. Iíve written articles for every section (I just wrote
my first sports piece, about rodeo contestants) and taken photos
at field days and murder trials. With this variety, I never got tired,
and as Iím primarily a writer and page designer, taking photos was
a fun addition to my responsibilities.
I have no one to thank for this summer except for the wonderful
group of people Iíve worked with here at the paper, the Kentucky
Press Association, and the people of LaRue County.
The staff at The Herald News showed an immediate confidence in
me. Linda Ireland, Melissa Nalley, Mona Coffey, Charlotte Isbell
and Dana Holt answered every question, gave every one of my ideas
consideration, and taught me about LaRue County. I was not so much
an intern as a member of the staff, and that was an invaluable completion
to my education in LaRue County.
first thing that comes to mind when I look back over the last few
weeks since starting my internship, is the wonderful people that
I have encountered and had the opportunity to work with. I have seen
and visited a number of places in my 22 years, I can say by far the
people in Trimble County are the friendliest people! They are so
warm and welcoming. It didnít matter where I was people would happily
introduce themselves to me and welcome me to their community. I know
this may not seem like much but when you are the new kid on the block
and donít know much about the block youíre on, a warm welcome makes
all the difference.
Not only have I had the opportunity to meet great people, I also
have gained a wealth of knowledge in the process. Trimble County
may not be the richest county when it comes to wealth; however, they
are rich in a wealth of history. I have learned so much about the
countyís history, like how the Underground Railroad ran straight
through Trimble county during slavery time and have seen the old
plantations where slaves and slave masters lived. Although I have
been challenged to write articles that I have never written before
and learned some basic yet important tips about photography, there
isnít one thing about this whole experience that I would change.
Except for maybe the length of my stay, I would definitely make it
a whole lot longer. When it is all said and done and my internship
is over, I will truly miss Trimble County. Working here [Trimble
County] has made me realize that people are people no matter where
they live. But people from small towns are a whole lot nicer!
put it succinctly my internship at The Gleaner has made me a better
writer. From the first phone call until I edit my article for mistakes
the fifth time, Iíve strengthened my reporting and writing skills.
Interviews with the various subjects and people Iíve covered helped
me appreciate that everyone has a story, and it is important to be
respectful of that story no matter what the topic. The staff at the
paper have been nothing but encouraging and helpful. Their years
of valuable experience has broadened my perspective on how a newsroom
operates. This experience has helped reaffirm my desire to be a journalist
or at the least work in a related field.
itís like to be a reporter is something thatís hard to teach in a
classroom. While Iíve learned a lot about journalism in college,
Iíve learned more about being a journalist this summer than I have
in two years of classes. Spending 10 weeks at the Franklin Favorite
has taught me what itís like to work at a professional newspaper,
and what to expect from the field after I graduate.
Iíve gained invaluable experience by covering city commission and
fiscal court. I feel more confident about covering these types of
meetings now, and I think itís a skill that I will be glad to have
in the future. Also, I learned a lot about how local government works,
which will be useful for reporting. Itís also interesting for me
as a political science major.
Writing features has always been something I like to do, and working
in Franklin has given me significant opportunities to do that. Being
here has taught me that human interest stories can be found in many
places, from high schools to local churches. Iíve also gotten to
work in different areas, such as Portland and White House, Tenn.
Iíve always mainly been involved in the writing part of the newspaper,
but this summer I have gotten experience with taking photos and designing
pages as well. I think this will make me more qualified for jobs
in the field of journalism. I also understand better how parts of
a newspaper work together, including the business aspects of it.
Most importantly to me, I have learned to apply concepts learned
in classes to situations at a professional newspaper. This has been
my first internship, and my first experience of actually doing what
I am going to school for, besides working for student newspapers.
I think itís experience that will help me in school and professionally,
and has made me more confident about my future.
I began hunting for internships late last year and early into this
year, it seemed like Owensboro was fated to be the place I would
spend the summer.
All the larger newspapers I applied to were suffering budget woes.
After a summer as an intern for the Dow Jones Newspaper Fund, a
summer internship at a community daily in Kentucky would seem like
a step down to a lot of people.
I didn't think so. It seemed like the perfect internship for me,
since community journalism is where I want to spend the rest of my
days until I'm old, gray and people turn to me rather than the stylebook
and ask me what newsprint smells like.
Wouldn't you know it, I was right.
Owensboro has offered me opportunities no other paper could. I
have written stories, shot photos, been harassed by an agent of the
Secret Service while covering a vice presidential visit, nearly been
pitched into the Ohio River by the Coast Guard, made many new friends
both in the business and out and learned amazing and wonderful things
about my chosen career.
And it wouldn't have happened if I'd gone to any other place.
Owensboro has a reputation as a good newspaper, both in the community
and in the professional journalism world. When the reporters at my
desk call people, they simply say "I'm with the newspaper." People
here respond to that. They respect the paper and rely on it. After
working here for 10 weeks, I can see why.
I have been blessed to be part of a dedicated staff. Sure, there
are woes just like at any other paper, worries about funding and
staffing, circulation and where the community newspaper will be in
five or 10 years.
They don't let anything stop them from continuing to put out a
quality product that matters to the people, which is more important
than anything else, I think. So long as the journalism matters to
the community, so long as it makes a difference in their lives, the
ultimate mission of journalism is being accomplished and its highest
ideals being met.
And I count myself as supremely fortunate to have been a part of
that, if only for a short while.
past 10 weeks that I have spent at the Georgetown News-Graphic have
been quite a learning experience, not just little tricks of the trade,
but reporting as a whole.
Midway trough my first week at the paper, the police scanner sounded
for all units to come help with an injury/fatality accident that
had happened on Interstate 75. I was handed a camera and told to
get at least one good shot.
Never before had I covered a breaking news story, and my experience
with a camera was limited, but I managed to get some good photos
as well as an unforgettable experience.
The News-Graphic staff never tried to hold my hand and lead me
through with baby steps. Rather, they let me try it on my own while
they acted as a safety net and let me learn through experience. There
was always someone there to answer any questions I had, but most
of my learning came through my mistakes (of which there were plenty),
which is by far the best way to learn. It generally only takes me
one screw up before I get the hang of something.
I have greatly appreciated my time at the News-Graphic this summer.
I have gained more knowledge and experience in the felid of reporting
than I ever could in a classroom. Plus, this internship has landed
me a full-time reporting position at the the News-graphic and a start
to what is hopefully a long and distinguished career.
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