August 2007
Volume 78, Number 8   

Each summer, the Kentucky Press Association teams up with papers around the state to provide internships for Kentucky college students.

The internships are a great breeding ground for the next generation of Kentucky journalists.

Here are some of the experiences this year’s crop of interns had and their reaction to the program:

Jennifer Allison
Maysville Ledger Independent

I walked into the Ledger Independent newsroom thinking that I would be typing up district court dockets, obituaries and property transfers all summer.

And I was perfectly happy with that.

Instead, I found myself with two assignments, two previews: one for a circus coming to a local town and one to announce preparations being made for an area Memorial Day parade.

Looking back, these assignments seem simple: anyone could make a few quick phone calls and gain all the information needed to deliver a proper article to the public.

But, on those first two days, I was absolutely, completely terrified. With only two real journalism courses under my belt, I did not believe that I was truly ready, or capable of creating anything worthy of publication, especially when it wasn't anonymous – like dockets.

Now, nearing the completion of my 10-week learning experience, I feel like I have gained enough skill to be able to work at a daily paper for longer than just 10 weeks, in a long-term reporting position. Working at the Ledger Independent has allowed me to become increasingly confident in my abilities as a writer.

My internship has also given me a few facts that I have learned over the course of my 10-week shot at being a staff writer.

• Gain (or train) in the ability to walk, talk, jog, run, follow, interview, record and write – all at once.
• The news never stops – even on election night.
• It is not annoyance; it is PERSISTENCE.
• Always fill up your gas tank BEFORE work; you never know where the next story (or gas station) will be.
• Write, write, WRITE! Every piece you create gets you closer to being comfortable at work.
• Do not let the fear of the reactions of others dictate what or who you write about.

Along with these bits of knowledge, I will take with me a reborn love of writing, the fondness and encouragement of each of my co-workers, and an appreciation for the fast-paced business of journalism; all through a job that I once feared, and now cannot wait to become permanent.

Havanna Hagans
Richmond Register

What about a quiet newsroom absent of stress, hair pulling, excuses and pointing fingers? It does exist – in Richmond.

There is something about being respectful and sharing a product with someone, rather than gossiping, competing and placing blame. So much about this internship has taught me that it is OK to laugh at work, poke fun at my own mistakes and still complete the job by the end of the day.

Many people, including myself, get so caught up in being on the go and doing this that and the other, they forget to sit back and enjoy the moment for what it is. And by the time it is all over with, they cannot take it back.

I decided this time around, it would not be me.

My co-workers at the Register helped me develop as a writer and a person.

My experience as an intern has been truly multi-dimensional. I have taken my first tour of the police department, sat in on fiscal court, city commission meetings, a murder pre-trial conference, covered spot news, written indictments, features, front-page stories and all the way down to briefs. I have edited stories and photos, conducted interviews and even been called a liar. But, the list goes on.

I used to think a daily newspaper would be chaotic, unorganized, loud and divided, but I have learned that is not always the case.

Here, it is not what “I” did today, but look at what “we” did.

With an extra person on board, the reporters at the Register have been able to work on long-term projects that require more depth and research and dive more into detail with design.

It helped to have a mentor that was just as interested and invested in my improvement and growth as I was. In some newsrooms, editors cut and paste information from writers’ stories without asking or even explaining why. He did not do that. Every story I have written has been my work. I can honestly look at the paper the next day and say, “Hey, I did that,” and not “I don’t remember writing that.”

This allowed me to soak up the AP style like a sponge and program it in my memory.

I come out of this experience more blessed, knowledgeable, uplifted, focused and driven to succeed as a journalist.

Sara Fender
Fulton Leader

I know what I don’t want to be when I grow up - a reporter. Along with knowing what I don’t want, doing a summer internship at the Fulton-Leader finally made me realize what I do want to do with my life when I graduate from Murray State University in December – I want to grow up to be a copy editor.

I never knew how nervous I got interacting with strangers until I was making phone calls to set up my first interview with a local Vietnam veteran. My palms were sweaty, my heart was racing, and my mouth was dry – all classic signs of nervousness and panic.

My veteran was unavailable for an interview until Sunday afternoon, so stacks of stories were placed on my desk to be edited and proofed. I groaned a little inside – it was a big stack – but I got out my new red felt tip pen and began to read.

I never realized how much fun it is to bloody up someone else’s work.

Not only has everyone at the Fulton-Leader made me feel welcome and comfortable, but by allowing me to try out every aspect of the newspaper world, whether it be reporting, researching, writing headlines, taking pictures, or copy editing, to name a few, I have finally figured out what to do when I grow up. And for me, that knowledge is the best of all.

Marty Finley
Times-Tribune, Corbin

The thought of stepping into the shoes of a reporter at a daily paper, in my case the Times-Tribune, was both exciting and terrifying for me.

I grew up near the tri-county and knew the terrain, so I didn’t have the headaches of learning everything about the area.

However, I knew my every published move at the paper would be followed by friends, family, past employers and possibly even enemies (which was disconcerting).

My fears were allayed as soon as I met the staff though. They were laid-back, welcoming and made me feel part of the team before I even put pen to paper.

And the opportunities came fast.

The managing editor assured me I would not be trapped in a dark basement digging up old files or be buried under a stack of obits, but I could not imagine getting the big stories I did.

The moment I stepped into the office, I was ordained the primary writer of a special section. It was simultaneously a stress inducer and an adrenaline rush.

Although I had my doubts, I really found a connection doing the special section entitled “Meth.” The section was a PSA designed to examine the medical effects of methamphetamine while also explaining how it affects the family unit and the community.

It wasn’t all doom and gloom, though, as I was able to represent how people within the communities we cover were reacting to the problem, particularly the organization Operation: UNITE.

I had the opportunity to form working relationships with their officials, attend functions and illustrate for our readers what UNITE attempts to do for the nearly 30 counties it covers in Kentucky.

The project resonated with me because I had seen my own brother spiral out of control on drugs, using every drug imaginable until he was killed at the age of 23 in a July 1998 accident with drugs in his system. To my knowledge, my brother never used methamphetamines, but it had not gained the foothold it currently has in our society.

While it is a journalist’s duty to stay objective, I felt pride in being able to assist UNITE in spreading its message. And UNITE’s desire to help addicts kick the addiction rather than simply send them to jail made me even more interested.

The project helped me hone my abilities as well. I have always been able to talk to people, but my ability to retrieve information grew as a result of the opportunities I was handed. Speaking with busy people every day, I knew I had to learn to describe what I needed concisely, clearly and cordially.

I found myself touched at the stories of others too. Near the end of my internship, I was given an info sheet on a Williamsburg resident who had an autograph ministry to celebrities. The man had received several replies and signatures back, which was the primary reason for the story. He had faced some rough days, though, losing his son in a 1999 accident and then losing the ability to take care of himself in a 2006 accident.

An intense love for life radiated off the man when I went to visit him and his kindness and positive attitude almost made me ashamed. I realized I was healthy, alert and free to move as I pleased, yet I still complained about traffic or some other minor infraction every day. It helped me understand nearly everything in life is a choice. This man could choose to be depressed or even vengeful at the world, but he decided to look for the positives in his situation. I left there picturing a world with more men of his character.

Now as I prepare to return to EKU for my final year, I can honestly look back at my time at the Times-Tribune in Corbin as one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve had. I want to be the best journalist I can, but this internship has inspired me to be the best person I can be, as well.

Nina Bosken
The Kentucky Standard

I love taking pictures. My friends say that I never go anywhere without my camera. I'm always taking pictures when I travel and hang out with friends, which I later put in a scrapbook.

Yet taking pictures for a newspaper is completely different than shooting a few pictures with some friends at a social event.

I'm going to junior news/editorial journalism major at Western Kentucky University this fall, so my photojournalism experience is limited.

But the Kentucky Standard trusted me to take pictures this summer and it's been a great learning experience.

The mindset a photojournalist needs is a lot different than what the average person taking photos needs. Aspects such as camera angles and capturing emotions are things that I normally don't focus on when I'm shooting a few images with my friends. A good photojournalist can't be afraid to get up close to people to capture a good image,

These aspects were hard to pick up and can be intimidating, but I try my best, spending time at events and taking a variety of shots so that maybe one out of 40 I take would be worthy of The Kentucky Standard.

One of my favorite photojournalism experiences this summer was writing a story about Kentucky Music Week, a weeklong workshop of folk music classes in instruments such as the dulcimer, banjo and fiddle.

Not only was I responsible to write a page-long feature all about the banjo harping and guitar strumming that happened that week, I had to capture it all on film as well.

Day after day, I drove out to the workshop and photographed a variety of classes and events because it was my duty to show the public what it looked and felt like to attend Kentucky Music Week.

After the last dulcimer was strummed and the last fiddle bowed, I came back to the office to sort through my pictures and interviews. It was hard work but seeing the full-page story that I had written and photographed made it all worth it.

Though my internship at The Kentucky Standard, I've gotten a taste of what it means to be a photojournalist, a skill I know won't go to waste throughout my journalism career.

Amber Coulter
Elizabethtown News-Enterprise

It’s July 18, and I just finished cleaning out my desk.

Only now I’m staying on at the News-Enterprise for a few more days. All the better.

I’m already upset that I have to go back to college and I can’t apply for one of the openings here. Did someone say correspondence classes?

It’s been a good time, and I’ve learned from my experiences.

I got fussed at by the mayor of Vine Grove when he didn’t care for my line of questioning. We made up. But it’s the second time I’ve have a run-in with a small-town mayor on an internship, so maybe this is a dangerous emerging pattern in my career.

I’ve slowed traffic to a crawl with my emergency flashers, following my interview subject in a horse and buggy. I’ve grabbed on to a carousel horse to balance myself with one hand and jotted down notes about the marriage being performed there with the other.

My writing is crisper now, and I’m no longer afraid of letting my sense of humor come through in my stories. A little of my humor, anyway.

My interviewing has also gotten better. I challenged myself at the beginning of the summer to do every interview possible in person, and it’s made a tremendous difference.

I even got a few lessons on photo-requesting etiquette.

I’ve known since high school that I want to be in newspapers, and working at the News-Enterprise has solidified my desire to work in a smaller market, where community members care a lot about what’s going on in their area.

Get ready, Hardin County. I’ll be looking for a job before too long. I think. Let me check my credit hours.

Melissa Mollohan
News Journal, Corbin

In order to become a full-fledged journalist, in my opinion, you have to be able to do everything. You have to take photos; you have to design; and you definitely have to write.

Well, at my internship at the News Journal in Corbin, I did all of that. I learned how to get a great picture; I learned how to design pages in less than two hours until deadline; and I had my share of stories too.

But another part of being a journalist is learning from the community.

The first day on the job, I covered the Harley-Davidson store coming to Corbin and I also got to chat with the mayor and some city commissioners. Over the course of the internship, I saw Mayor Willard McBurney at least once a week and he remembered my name. I didn’t know who the mayor of my hometown is.

I learned about the friendliness of a small town. Although Corbin only has about 8,000 people, it’s overflowing with friendliness and knowledge. And for every dispute or argument I saw, I saw 10 more acts of kindness. The staff at the News Journal, as well as the citizens of Corbin, welcomed me with open arms and I hope that wherever I go after graduation I find people just like that.

I learned that the school systems in Corbin are top-notch. An elementary school principal is Kentucky’s principal of the year. The academic index of the schools is some of the highest in the state and even the country.

I learned that there are stories to be told in a small town. The people of Corbin are going places, figuratively speaking. And as long as they are, the News Journal will cover their stories in a timely and professional way, even local noodle wrestling events.

I learned how to use my journalistic instincts and my human emotions to make decisions at the News Journal. I know what things to keep off the record and I know how to network now. And while the News Journal is only a weekly, I feel as if it covers Corbin and surrounding areas with enough depth and details to last a week until the next issue comes out.

I feel like the two-hour round trip from Richmond to Corbin for four days a week for 10 weeks was well worth the drive.

Whether I was taking pictures at a basket-weaving convention, writing a story about a boy saving his brother’s life or designing a new masthead, I believe that with the knowledge I gained from working at the News Journal, I am a full-fledged journalist.

Jim Burch
Kentucky New Era, Hopkinsville

I spent the summer of 2007 (roughly May to August) working as a reporter for the Kentucky New Era in Hopkinsville. The main purpose of my internship was running the crime and fire beat and covering various other crime stories. But I was able to cover everything from government to feature and spot news as well during my time with the newspaper.

Coming from a fairly shallow background in journalism, my internship with the New Era was a crash course in what to expect out of this type of career. Previously, I had only been a features writer and columnist for my university paper, The Murray State News, so covering crime and fire was a bit of unknown territory to me. However, the routine began to come naturally to me and I found it to be quite enjoyable and exciting.

Every morning at about 7:30 a.m., I would run to the Hopkinsville Police Station, Christian County Fire Department and Hopkinsville Fire Station to pick up crime, fire and vehicle accident reports. It is safe to say that no two days were ever the same when it came to what I was going to cover: hit and runs, thefts, house fires, highway accidents, assaults, and other various crimes and incidents were mixed up in a different order everyday for me to tackle. As I said before, it was a challenge but one that I was up for and had me on my toes.

Aside from covering crime and fire, I was able to step out of my routine and cover enterprise stories, business news, personal profiles, and even news happening outside of the Christian County area. The New Era was very good about making sure I at least tried every kind of reporting there was to cover.

If there is one valuable lesson to take away from this internship, it’s that the news is here as fast as it’s gone. Previously working for a weekly paper before this internship, I didn’t know what to expect out of the fast-paced routine of a daily. I soon realized that one day you’ll work eight hours just to cover and report one story, and then it’s over. Before the day is even expired, another assignment is out there waiting to be covered. Even on a slow news day, something is happening out there in the community of a newspaper that is waiting to be written about.

Anticipating a graduation this December, I’ve been reinforced that a career in some type of journalism is definitely for me. Whether it’s newspapers, magazines, public relations; that’s still to be decided. But having this internship has certainly given me the confidence and knowledge of the business to know that I can have success in any one of these fields.

Maria Fitzgerald
Appalachian News-Express, Pikeville

This has been a summer full of adventure, meeting new people and, above all, learning. These experiences have been available to me because of the Kentucky Press Association’s intern program.

Initially, when I agreed to become the Appalachian News-Express’ summer intern, I was expecting a semi-easy summer job. I thought I would probably be writing obituaries and birth announcements, perhaps occasionally being sent to the scene of a car accident to take photos. I couldn’t have been more wrong.

I attended a press conference, covered an election, reported on a train collision, profiled a business and took a ride with Kentucky Highway District 12’s information officer to learn more about a new road — all in my first week of work.

The first few weeks of my internship left me feeling a little “dizzy.” After completing newswriting classes at Eastern Kentucky University, I felt fairly confident in my ability to write basic news stories. However, the News-Express’ editor, Rachel Stanley, didn’t contain me to writing basic stories, but allowed me to cover a wide array of topics.

Being treated the same as the other employees, and not being held back because of a lack of experience, allowed me to learn even more than I probably would have otherwise.

This was one of the most interesting summers of my life because I never knew what to expect when I walked into the newsroom. I attended meetings, localized issues (such as sky-rocketing gas prices) and took day trips to Kentucky parks to share with readers.

The best part about being a KPA intern, though, was being forced to step out of my comfort zone and learn about the new area I called home this summer, an area I was previously totally unfamiliar with.

I’ve learned a myriad of new things - lessons you simply can’t be taught in a classroom, but that you must go out and learn from experience. I can now interview with more confidence, be fearless when talking to strangers and, most of all, be open to learning from those around me.

I’ve still not completely decided what job path I will pursue after I graduate from EKU with my journalism degree. However, being a KPA intern has opened my mind to possibilities I may have never considered before, and for that I am truly thankful.

Amanda Hensley
Spencer Magnet, Taylorsville

My 10 weeks at The Spencer Magnet flew by. But as the saying goes, time flies when you’re having fun. And I had a great time working at The Spencer Magnet. From the first day, the staff welcomed me in and made me feel at home, and everyone I met in Spencer County did the same.

Those two-and-half months were quite an adventure. Where else would I have gotten to learn how to make cheese, ride in a golf cart around an orchard and attend a ballet recital as part of my job?

And even though I had interned at a local paper before, this was my first time as a full-time reporter and my first time laying out pages for publication. The staff helped me through it and I'm glad I had the opportunity to learn that important aspect of newspaper publication. It will help me as I continue through my journalism classes in college.

This internship has taught me so much and I met so many wonderful people in the process. I enjoyed getting to know the local Farmers Market vendors and promoting their market, and getting some free fruits and veggies as well.

Learning firsthand how cheese is made was also a memorable experience. Patrick Kennedy, the owner of the creamery, was very nice in letting me hang around and in explaining the process as I looked over his shoulder.

I have no doubt that I am taking away a lot of beneficial experiences from this internship, both professionally and personally.

From my first assignment to write about my impression of the county as a newcomer, to my last assignment to write a column saying goodbye, my time at the Spencer Magnet was wonderful; something I am very grateful for.

So thank you KPA!! I'll be taking advantage of this wonderful opportunity again next summer for sure!

Trisha Spalding
Herald-Leader, Lexington

I have learned so much from this summer internship that it not only strengthened my abilities but also confirmed my feelings about doing this for a living.

The best thing I did this summer is make mistakes. Coming back with a photo that wasn't that great, thinking of a great question to ask after I had already left, getting lost and almost missing the assignment altogether. I have learned that you do not just show up for an assignment without thinking and planning and knowing what you are going to do and where you are going.

I learned that photos and people take patience, even when I don't have it on that particular day.

The staff at the Herald-Leader was so amazing. The writers, the online staff and especially the photographers were helpful in every aspect of the job. Every person I worked with helped me and taught me something in some way, which was fantastic.

Coming up with my own ideas and executing them and doing them well served me the best this summer. No idea is a dumb idea; it just may need some tweaking to become more interesting.

I sold myself short this summer and should have gone in with confidence – but I didn't.

I would have started with confidence to make this summer even better, but I think I learned from that as well.

Overall, I think I have become a better reporter, not just photographer. Gathering information and quotes is important and vital to tell a story correctly.

I have also realized how vital multimedia is to the business and have really enjoyed learning and using multimedia as a tool to tell stories. Gathering sound and using a person's own voice is an intriguing way of sharing their story.

Thank you so much for this opportunity.

Amanda Morris
Union County Advocate, Morganfield

Third time’s the charm, and being that this was my third KPA internship, I had great expectations that I would continue to learn about the newspaper industry.

It was back to the Union County Advocate for my internship. Lots had changed at the Advocate since I had interned there two summers ago. There were new faces, different procedures but the biggest change was that layout was now done on the computer.

Yet with all the changes, so much had stayed the same. It was still the small town paper that everyone in town loved.

Although I came to the Advocate to do advertising, I knew that the staff was a team and that I would have the chance to learn more about the other aspects of the newspaper. I was able to help with the billing and accounting side. I got to work on the reporting side as I got to take pictures for a story but where I learned the most was by helping customers and when I was able to go out into the community.

I gained a tremendous amount of knowledge from the people of Union County. As I leave I take with me more than confidence that I can layout ads – I take with me knowledge of the newspaper business.

As my internship is coming to an end I leave the Advocate with all of my expectations surpassed and knowing that the newspaper industry is the right one for me.

Kate Darnell
Cynthiana Democrat

My summer internship at The Cynthiana Democrat marks my third working experience with the paper, and still I continue to gain knowledge that will prove to be beneficial when entering the workforce.

First and foremost, my time at the newspaper has allowed me to use the techniques and objectives taught in my Western Kentucky University journalism classes. The chance to use these skills (interviewing, editing, writing, etc.) outside of the classroom setting and in a hands-on atmosphere has heightened my awareness of their importance and increased my understanding of their effects.

At the Democrat, I was given numerous opportunities to use my abilities, and through these opportunities, I received advice and tips from my editor and other reporters in the newsroom. Having just recently taken a photojournalism class, the internship allowed me to continue practicing with my camera. I took all the pictures for the stories I wrote, and even showcased some feature photography in a few editions of the weekly publication. I was able to further my photography education and expand my capabilities by working with others in the newsroom who helped me learn how to converge photojournalism and journalism.

This summer at the Democrat I was given the chance to explore an area of journalism that has become my favorite: feature writing. Every week, the newspaper included a story about a character (the bookmobile lady, a postman, the ice cream truck driver, etc.) from Cynthiana/Harrison County. For these stories, I followed the person for several hours and attempted to understand their job and their life. I wrote the stories to be very simple and easy to read, yet packed with information that I felt was interesting or necessary in order to better understand the individual.

After my internship at the Democrat, I do plan to continue pursuing a news editorial degree from Western Kentucky University, and later enter the journalism profession. My work this summer has only increased my desire to tell the story of those around me.

David Harten
Oldham Era

The first day I walked into the Oldham Era, I felt at home.

It was the simple, comfortable feel of a smaller publication that went along with the hard-working, deadline-fueled drive of the staff that really helped me to see the reason why this paper has been one of Kentucky’s best weekly newspapers two years in a row.

After putting in my three months here, I know I will leave this paper with a greater amount of knowledge than I thought possible from just one summer of work. I have really learned more about what it takes to succeed in the world of journalism and in the world in general.

I truly believe one of the best aspects of working at a newspaper like the Oldham Era are the little experiences and people you get to meet that may seem insignificant to most, but once you get to spend a few minutes talking to them, you really get a feel for exactly how much a person or people have accomplished and what they have done in their lives that have made a difference.

I got to cover house fires and investigate criminal mischief, but nothing can replace the sense of love, caring and imagination that I got from local residents and business owners when describing Trish Garlock, the owner of the Treasured Child toy store in downtown La Grange, who passed away during my first few days on the job. Or the pageantry of the Spring Run Horse Trials, where I met Susan and Blake Harris, the owners of Spring Run Farm who started the event in 1977 and built it on support and passion alone to becoming one of the largest equine events in America.

The best part about being part of the staff is their willingness to let me be myself. While I did my best to make as few mistakes as possible, when I did make mistakes they did not crucify me for it, but let me work them out on my own, which served as a valuable lesson for me to know that being thorough is key in the journalism realm.

This experience has really enhanced both my passion for and my awareness of journalism. As I leave this opportunity and search for the next one, I believe that working for the Oldham Era will serve me greater down the road with more knowledge than I could receive from working at a larger publication.

Meghan Cain
Jessamine Journal, Nicholasville

Mayors, Mexicans, rock bands, recovering addicts and sheriffs all have one aspect in common: they have all been under the pressure of my questions and my camera.

No other career field would allow me to interact with such an eclectic group of individuals, and this is precisely why I chose journalism.

Every day is unique and the myriad of people I have been blessed to meet and converse with constantly puts me in awe of mankind.

I have been interested in journalism since I was about 16, but I always wanted to practice my career in a large city like New York or Chicago. When applying for internships for the current summer, I kept this in mind. I applied for Entertainment Weekly in New York and some small magazines in Chicago, but with each rejection, I became more bitter.

I finally decided to fill out the Kentucky Press Association application in hopes of receiving some type of internship. And after just a few weeks, I heard back from The Jessamine Journal.

I know Jessamine County is a far stretch from New York and it was not where I wanted to be over the summer. However, I have learned so much and have received the opportunity to meet such an interesting mix of people that I am glad my summer was spent on Main Street in Nicholasville instead of Main Street in New York.

The first day I joined the Journal team, I was immediately trusted and allowed to write a couple of stories. Actually, after my first day, I had five story assignments and two photo shoots planned. I know that no internship in a big city would have allowed me to start working so quickly.

Two loves have developed in my life in the month-and-a-half I have been on staff. One is a passion for photography, and another is an intense love for people and small towns.

Before working at the Journal, I had never taken a picture with an expensive camera for a newspaper, hence my nerves swelled the first time I took the camera out for a shoot. Although I experienced some problems with the lighting, excitement surmounted when I finally captured my subject's essence on the railroad tracks. Nothing can describe the feeling that comes with capturing the facial expressions and the passion people portray in an image.

Since then I was allowed to take pictures at the annual Ichthus Christian Music Festival in Wilmore and the Jessamine County Fair, and now I have been surfing the net for a good Nikon. I am already planning adventures with my photography friends from the University of Kentucky's newspaper.

Also, I have always had a passion for humans. I believe every one possesses a unique story to tell, and through working at the Journal I have been allowed to tell a few of those stories.

Working for a small town newspaper, I have really been able to observe the heart of the people that make a town what it is. The people are willing to share themselves with me, and this, in turn, has made my passion for people more intense.

It has really opened my eyes to see that it is not the high rises and city lights that make a town magnificent and unique, but it is the people in which the town is constructed of that makes it wonderful.

So step back New York City, you may have your unique people and your night life, but I want to be part of a small town that is willing to share its personality with a young journalist thirsty to know it.

Stephanie Salmons
Community Press and Recorder Papers/Boone County Recorder

I was terrified as I walked into the office. What was I doing here? Clearly, someone had made a mistake. I wasn’t ready for this.

“No, sorry,” I could imagine the editor saying to me. “There was a mix up; we meant to call someone who actually knows what they’re doing.”

I was two weeks out of my college career and starting the KPA internship at the Community Press and Recorder papers in Northern Kentucky. Before I walked through the door I quickly decided that I had just wasted the last four years of my life.

Sure, I learned the technical stuff at school – how to write, what to write and the general rules and etiquette of journalism. But sitting in a classroom doesn’t really prepare you for, well, life. Thoughts of how many ways I could mess up this summer turned into thoughts of other things I could do with a degree in journalism. (The answer is not much.)

It was, at first, a little overwhelming. There was no grace period, no time to acclimate to my surrounding, no real-world adjustment. I walked in on the first day and waiting for me was a contact name and number for an article and story ideas for a few more. There was no time to really worry about whether or not I was able. It was a sink-or-swim moment and I chose to swim.

Looking back, I am truly thankful for this experience. This internship helped me prove to myself that I am capable of succeeding in the journalism field and I no longer feel that the four years I spent in school were wasted. I am more confident in my abilities and feel more prepared to handle my impending entry into the “real world.” Most importantly, this experience has made me rediscover the reasons why I decided to major in journalism to begin with.

No, it’s not an easy job and more than likely I will never be rich or mingle with the famous (unless, of course, I DO land that job at Rolling Stone). It is constantly challenging and ever-changing. You have to expect the unexpected; learn to deal with the pressure of deadlines and to roll with the punches. It is not a typical 9 to 5 job and I wouldn’t want to spend my life doing anything else.

Elizabeth Worster
Shelbyville Sentinel-News

One of my professors at Western called me out in class one day and said I was a "jaded reporter," and until recently, I had no idea what he meant.

You see, I have learned a lot about myself, the community and the newspaper I work for. I have learned that I love journalism, just not when it stands with schoolwork. I have learned that I may be cynical when it comes to writing about certain things but there are instances that excite me.

This whole experience has been never ending. I have met deadlines, I have worked on both my feature and news style of writing, I have met the "big dogs" from WAVE-TV or WHAS-TV from Louisville that I grew up with. I have walked in old houses, met the new University of Louisville football coach and have seen the undying love of a family that lost their father 18 years ago.

I cannot bottle up everything I have experienced this summer in one article or make sense of it all at this time. I know I have met some amazing people, and dealt with blah ones as well. I have learned that small town politics are as interesting as major politics and that the first day I took pictures with the camera, I did not know what I was doing.

From this summer I will carry with me the proper way to work a camera without the picture getting out of focus and lessons learned from dealing with too many names. That no matter how old you are, you should never give up hope and love, the pure love that roots your soul, will never die.

I walked into The Sentinel-News with no expectations because I did not want to let myself down if this was not what I was looking for. What I will leave here with are memories and knowledge of how a paper, other than the College Heights Herald, runs.

It is still too soon to tell if I will continue my career in the newspaper world.

I do know, however, that I love listening to new stories and I love telling what I have learned. I am a storyteller who loves going to work because no day is the same.

I am a restless soul who has learned to deal with slow news days and I have been shown that it does not matter if you think a story is not worthy, there is always one reader who will be affected.

Tommy Dillard
Murray Ledger & Times

Until this summer, every endeavor into journalism I’d ever made had been in the sports field. Beginning at my high school newspaper, continuing at my college paper and then as a stringer, I was the sports guy, the guy who covered the games, the athletes, the competition and the drama.

It wouldn’t be a stretch to say that I got into journalism not because I thought the profession itself particularly honorable or fulfilling, but because it gave me a chance to be close to something I loved – sports. Lucky for me, I could write just decently enough to pull it off.

So going into my internship this summer, needless to say, I was more than a little nervous about making my first foray into the wider world of journalism that didn’t center around touchdowns, three-pointers and runs batted in. Truth be told, my employer was probably a tad bit nervous about my venture as well.

But what I might have looked at as a temporary suspension, a time-out, from what I really wanted to do and pursue, has proven to be one of the most knowledge-expanding and boundary-stretching experiences of my journalistic life.

Thanks to a lead writer’s maternity leave, I was baptized by fire from day one at the Ledger. My first night on the job, I was sent to cover a city council budget meeting, where I tried not to let on to the city bigwigs how clueless I was. I had seen story budgets before, but this was my first of the fiscal variety.

While rewarding, this experience and others haven’t been enough to steer my career ambitions away from sports and into community journalism, but my internship has helped me to broaden my horizons and spread my wings in the field.

I believe I’ve grown immensely as a writer and reporter this summer and I am forever grateful to my editor, Eric Walker, the Ledger & Times and KPA for such a tremendous opportunity.


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