Laura Butler
Eastern Kentucky University
Jessamine Journal

My internship at The Jessamine Journal has been just about everything I hoped my first experience at a professional newspaper would be. Coming into my internship, I was prepared to have to prove myself to the news staff right away, and I was extremely surprised and pleased to be welcomed immediately as a new team member. Throughout my entire internship so far, I've felt my contributions each week have been significant and beneficial to The Journal, and I know I'm reaping great benefits from this symbiotic relationship.

From day one I've been learning. Within my first day on the job, I started working on several story assignments, helped cover my first wreck and attended a Wilmore City Council meeting.  Two days later, when the paper went to bed, I had two stories running in that Thursday's edition and another in the can.

In the following weeks, I took on more responsibility with up to four stories a week. I learned how to write the police reports, attended school board meetings, fiscal court sessions, and sat in on a few meetings with the Nicholasville City Commission. I covered ground breaking and grand opening ceremonies for new businesses in Jessamine County and wrote about state and national issues, such as the raise in minimum wage.

I learned more about covering breaking news and working with law enforcement by going to accident scenes and fire runs with fellow reporters and writing about a large drug round-up. I'll be rounding out my internship when I participate in a ride-along with the Nicholasville Fire Department on July 17.

My photography skills continue to get better as well as my interviewing, writing and editing skills. I also worked on feature writing and produced several feature packages, complete with photos I shot, that I am pretty proud of. It's been fun and interesting to meet different people in Jessamine County and tell their stories, some of which have included an 86-year-old man who builds pipe organs, a group of couples who collect and drive Model A Fords and I recently got to be on set for the filming of an up-and-coming 2010 movie, "Unrequited."

I know a feeling of uncertainty is a common one right now among many journalists across the nation when they think about the security of their jobs, but my KPA internship this summer  has helped me gain confidence in my skills and hasn't diminished my drive to continue in this industry at all.  It's been a great learning tool, and many of the lessons I learned just aren't things you can learn in a textbook. I'm looking forward to returning to work as an editor at The Eastern Progress in August, where I can put some of this great experience to use.