Stephanie Boxx
Georgetown College
Georgetown News Graphic

Overwhelmed. Intimidated. Nervous. Inadequate. Those are just a few words to describe my first day as an intern for the Georgetown News-Graphic in Georgetown, Ky. I was given a desk and a computer and told to write a column introducing myself to the community. I was given a camera and told to take pictures of a ribbon cutting ceremony. I was getting emails about story ideas and deadlines and scrambling to find an AP Stylebook. I never felt more like an idiot than I did that day. I also never felt more sure that I did not want to be a journalist. I just wasn't cut out for this job.

I'd love to tell you that all those feelings went away. Even in my third week I feel nervous when I have to talk to walk up to a complete stranger and ask them about why they think a local basketball camp has helped their daughter improve. I feel overwhelmed when I can't get ahold of the camp director for an interview. I feel inadequate when it takes me all morning to write a story about basketball camp when the other reporters have already written two stories. However, each challenge that I faced during the process of writing that story has gradually dissolved a little nervousness, a little inadequacy, and a little of that overwhelming feeling.

One of my most challenging stories so far was covering our local girls softball league tournament. There were four games in one day and they were scheduled in sets of two. There were two games slated for 1:30 p.m. and two for 3 p.m. and I somehow had to get scores, interviews, and photos for all four games for the next day's issue. It felt like an impossible task had been set before me. I traipsed all over those fields for five hours in ninety degree weather. I talked to parents, friends, coaches, players, spectators, the league president, even the guy who was barbecuing the hamburgers for the league picnic. I took photos of girls running, catching, sliding, and batting. I took photos of parents passing out drinks and setting up umbrellas. It was exhausting but at the end of the day I felt like I knew everything about the local league. It was the first time I really experienced an event. It might seem insignificant to more experienced journalists but I just felt that for the first time I got a truly in depth look at an event.

Another important story for me was my coverage of a local quilters guild that corresponds with a guild in Japan. I've always been interested in cultural events so I was excited to be able to talk about Japanese culture and quilting techniques with some of the members of the American guild as well as some of the members of the guild in Tahara City, Japan via email. I will admit that it was a story that I wasn't looking forward to writing at first. I had no interest in quilting and I thought that talking to a group of retired quilters had to be an extremely boring assignment. What I found out instead is that in a town steeped in tradition, where almost everyone was born and raised here, this group of women was reaching out across the world and expanding their minds, immersing themselves in culture, and finding new ways to express themselves through art. I recently received an email from the head of the quilting guild in which she expressed her gratitude for taking the time to write about something that meant so much to her. This experience definitely taught me that people are often surprising and if you really take the time to find out about every aspect of their lives you'll often find something worth writing about.

I wouldn't have said this three weeks ago but now I am glad that someone completely threw me into this job. I've learned a lot about journalism, about this town, and about how far I can stretch myself to overcome feelings that could have just as easily paralyzed me. Working for the News-Graphic has helped unearth mistakes and give me the skills and confidence to continue working in the journalism field. I feel like by the end of the summer I will have collected an decent portfolio that I can use when I graduate. I'm definitely more interested in pursuing a journalism career now than I was last semester. I hope that this internship keeps developing the kind of skills that I have learned so far and that in seven more weeks I will be even more ready to pursue my own, full-time journalistic career.