Lyndsey Gilpin

University of Louisville
Shepherdsville Pioneer News

A train had just derailed in Shepherdsville, and the call came through the police scanner while I was doing a phone interview. It was the epitome of a journalistic moment I had been waiting for; I had 20 things to do at once and had to drop them all for this one.

My coworker Alex and I jumped into the car and arrived on the scene several minutes before every news organization in Louisville showed up too, accompanied by hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of equipment and flawless make-up.

And there I was, sweating incessantly from the 90-degree heat, dehydrated, in flip-flops, with my camera dangling around my neck and a pen in my pocket, completely foreign to this type of situation.

When the press conference began, everyone threw their microphones and cameras in the fireman’s face, and I found myself sticking my arm that held my six-inch voice recorder out just as far as the rest of them while Alex hurried to jot down notes.

At that moment, I couldn’t have been more proud to be working for The Pioneer News.

Community journalists have an unyielding determination to serve the public and share stories of people, and work just as hard, if not harder, than any paper out there. That is a valuable lesson, one that no journalism class or big-time internship could ever teach me.

When I walked through the office door in May, I was half-expecting an internship experience that most students fear: grabbing coffee, proofreading, and calling random people about their subscriptions. What I received was directions to an interview and an assignment to write “until I was done.” The story was due by the end of the day, something that I struggled with, usually preferring to revise three or four times.

I finished it that afternoon, nervous and upset about not getting the chance to sleep on the topic for a night or two, but I couldn’t be more thankful for the challenge. I was thrown into an unfamiliar situation, and that’s what I have been asking for since I started studying journalism, because it’s the best way to learn.

I’ve had a taste of everything at the Pioneer News; I attended the last few weeks of school events, court cases, car accidents, the county fair, and holiday celebrations. I edited video and took hundreds of photos, improving my photography skills.

Writing for this newspaper has been such a rewarding and educational experience. The future is intimidating, but it’s comforting to know that through this, I proved to myself I can be a professional journalist.

Always fast-paced and impatient, I’ve grown up thinking city life would suit me. But I’ve learned that Shepherdsville suits me, too. Working for The New York Times isn’t the only way to find amazing stories, because they are everywhere, waiting to be told. It’s just as easy to change or influence a life here as it is anywhere else in the world.

That’s what I have always loved about journalism, and working at the Pioneer News has reiterated it one thousand times over.

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