Catherine Barnes
University of Kentucky
Kentucky Standard, Bardstown

At the Kentucky Standard I had my first experience working full-time for a newspaper. Although I've had several internships throughout my college career, I never had the opportunity for an internship to be my sole focus. In most cases, I was balancing a journalism job with school work and other extra-curricular activities. This oftentimes resulted in feeling overwhelmed by the amount of work or assignments I was given. This summer was a great chance to see that journalism can be an enjoyable job for me if I'm given sufficient time to devote to it.

Throughout all my classes, teachers always stressed the importance of establishing contacts when you begin work at a new publication. I saw this first hand at The Kentucky Standard. Although I was only there for five weeks, I realized right away that if it wasn't for the help of the full-time writers, I would have been running in circles when I started a story. Each time I began a story, they seemed to know exactly who I should talk to to get what I needed. Without this vital information, I would have been lost and writing those stories would have taken significantly longer. Although it sounds like common sense, knowing who to talk to is essential but having the ability to reach them is a whole different story. Office numbers don't do much good, but a cell phone number always gets the job done!

My time at the Spencer Magnet was different, first in that it is a weekly, instead of a tri-weekly. I enjoyed having more time to research the stories that I did. Even if it was a simple preview or overview of a weekend event, I was afforded more time to contact more sources. In addition, I have been given the opportunity to work on a photo story/series about the local artists in the area. I have never had this kind of space afforded to me in a newspaper nor the time to work on a project like this. Although, I am just starting on it, I hope that it will turn out to be an interesting group of stories that I can look back on and be proud of.

Working at two small town newspapers also gave me the advantage of working for publications that are held in good standing and appreciated by the community. There were very few instances when I was turned away because I worked for the newspaper. Instead, people were eager to talk to me and have their voice heard by the community. The people in these communities were not intimidated by their newspaper, and they never should be, but this sometimes seems to happen at larger newspapers.

Finally, my weeks spent at the Spencer Magnet and The Kentucky Standard reminded me that although the business of journalism is undoubtedly going through major changes, the people of these communities continue to rely on and appreciate their local news source. A forum for the people of Bardstown and Spencer County will never disappear as long as they remain interested in their local government, and in the lives of people around them.