Jenna Reecer
Western Kentucky University
Tompkinsville News

During my internship at the Tompkinsville News, I never imagined that I would learn so much.  Never did I once think that such a huge operation could occur so smoothly.  I had no idea how much hard work and planning went into making a weekly newspaper.  As a young adult, I always looked forward to receiving the Tompkinsville News every Thursday to see what was happening in this tiny town.  Now, as an employee, I have a much greater respect and appreciation for the newspaper because now I know how much effort and dedication goes into this publication.

Upon first starting at the Tompkinsville News, I expected to be the intern that did the employees’ errands or did their ‘dirty’ work.  However, I was given much greater opportunities.  I have been able to write feature articles, take pictures around the community, and participate in everyday office work.  I had no idea that I would be able to actually write stories for the newspaper.  I have written numerous papers for different classes over the years, but I had never written a feature article that almost 5,000 people would read and criticize. 

For my first article, I did a story about a woman who was living with terminal cancer.  This article was to help promote American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life fundraiser.  The amount of pressure that I was under was unreal.  I had to try to impress all of Monroe County with one story.  The interview was very emotional for me and I knew that the article would be even harder to write.  But somehow I managed to write a very good article.  The feedback from the county was awesome.  Now, everywhere I went, people patted me on the back and told me how good of an article I wrote and congratulated me on working at the news office now.  This feedback inspired me to write even better articles.  

After writing another Relay for Life article, taking pictures at the Relay for Life and the Fountain Run BBQ festival, and doing a few other small stories, I have come across a project that has really changed me.  “The Golden Years” is a section of the newspaper that will contain a series of stories featuring elderly people over the age of 80.  I have been given the opportunity to write the articles that will be featured in this section.  After my first interview, I have already gained a newfound respect for newspaper reporters and writers.  I never realized how difficult doing interviews would be, especially with a 100 year old woman who could barely remember anything. 

I had done interviews before I began the ‘Golden Years’ section and they had gone rather smoothly, usually because I knew the person I was interviewing or I had heard of them.  But my first ‘Golden Years’ interview was very exciting and yet very hard to conduct, mainly because the person I was interviewing did not remember much.  However, I gathered enough information and I was able to write a very informative article.  After this interview was over, I realized how much respect I have for elderly people, especially for one that has seen over 100 years of change.  This is just one of the many ways that this internship has opened my eyes to a totally different viewpoint on newspapers.  I never realized how many lives that the newspaper touches and how important it is to so many citizens.  

My internship here at the Tompkinsville News has really allowed me to meet so many people and has taught me many life lessons that I will carry on with me throughout the rest of my life.  This internship has also made me realize how important a newspaper is and how much hard work and effort goes into creating a weekly newspaper.  I think that working at a newspaper one day would be a great experience and I definitely will consider working for one in the future.