Zach Walton
University of Kentucky
Beattyville Enterprise

Being an intern for a newspaper is ripe material for all kinds of witty banter and funny stories that further propagate the idea that interns have it rough. In fact, I went into this thinking of funny stories to write to entertain people when, and if, they read this but I have decided to be focused on this piece as I would be when writing a story. That's not to say that working at a newspaper cannot be funny. Quite the contrary, I have learned that people in the newspaper business have the best sense of humor in the world. I guess it keeps from getting depressed from covering all that hard news full of death, strife and destruction.

My work has been the duty of doing all the grunt work but I mean that in the nicest way possible. I have learned numerous things, even though they were boring, that will be indispensable when I go out to find a real job in journalism. I have learned proper formatting techniques for stories, how to localize a generic statewide press release, write a sappy cover story, write a serious news story, researching records and a wide variety of other things. I came into this internship wanting to write and I got to write. It wasn't exactly what I wanted to write about but I saw the importance that what I and to a further extent, my editor, were writing for the citizens of Lee County and the surrounding areas.

The biggest shock was how many people rely on the newspaper to get their information. I grew up in the technology age with the Internet being my primary source of information. To see so many people dependent and eager for the newspaper each week was uplifting to me not only as a writer but as a citizen. I'd given up hope that there were any people left in this country who actually cared about real news or real happenings in their community instead looking to Hollywood and other celebrity hot spots for their daily information intake. It was gratifying to say the least that there are still people who care.

My future is an interesting prospect. I went into journalism to become an entertainment writer mostly focusing on video games. I still want to do this as it's been my dream for many years now but I wouldn't mind writing for a small town paper for a few years to build a name for myself. I now realize how important this job is to so many people around the country in the small towns and cities that the major networks don't care to cover. I also have become infatuated with international journalistic efforts so I could see myself going around the world propagating First Amendment rights to those who do not have any or being persecuted for their practicing freedom on the press.

The best thing about this internship really has been the people. The people that I've been able to meet and interact with have been truly fantastic. There are so many different views and opinions out there and it's our job as journalist's to give those citizens a voice. When we have a government that doesn't care what the average citizen thinks, we have to be their unified voice!

It has truly been an honor and a thrilling experience to be part of a newspaper this summer and I want to do it again next summer. It has been the best summer of my life and I won't soon forget it. I thank the KPA, The Beattyville Enterprise and my editor for putting up with me as an intern for this long. I hope it's been as fun for you as it has been for me.

As an aside, any aspiring journalist wanting to get into the business. I highly encourage the KPA internship program. It's the best thing I've done with my education and I've learned things that have put me light years ahead of the competition at my university. You will not regret it!