Mary Mac Joiner

Princeton Times Leader
University of Kentucky

Home. It is a place that has many different meanings. For some it might be a person, a house or something dear to ones heart. In my case, I found my home this summer at The Times Leader in Princeton, KY.

As a native of Princeton, I never truly knew how much people enjoy the paper until experiencing the behind the scene’s work first-hand. There is just something about the warmth in that town knowing that a biweekly newspaper could make someone’s day. Locals file into stores one-by-one every Wednesday and Saturday to purchase a paper made with character each and every issue. 

Unlike big-time newspapers, The Times Leader is all about Caldwell County. From little league baseball games to city government, the journalists in Princeton have it covered.  

I was lucky enough to have been selected by Kentucky Hall of Fame, Chip Hutcheson to intern for his family’s second-generation paper under the Kentucky New Era. I worked with a news staff of five including the editor, sports editor, lifestyles editor and two lead news reporters. I learned that is all you really need in a small town like Princeton to get the job done. Each person played a heavy role in teaching me the in’s and out’s of journalism. Measures from cut-lines to deadlines I learned and performed the newspaper lingo. 

Over the past 10 weeks I have written articles and photographed pictures for every section including: school activities, sporting events, community efforts, regional events, personal endeavors and shelter animals etc. 

A time I will never forget is when I teamed up with Mr. Hutcheson to cover the entire sports section for two weeks while the sports editor was on vacation. At first I was nervous because I had little to no knowledge on Caldwell County sports, but with a lot of research and phone calls I was able to write articles which were some of the most meaningful to me. 

A few main articles were about the first women’s sports in Princeton as a result of Title IX, a local soccer player’s personal athletic dream coming true and the construction of the hometown football stadium from the 1960s. Never in a million years did I picture myself writing articles as these, but I loved every second of it. 

Now those ten weeks are up and it’s that time of year again where I will head back to The University of Kentucky and begin my junior year as a wildcat. I am currently majoring in Integrated Strategic Communication and have hopes of working for a Public Relations firm one day. The experience I have had this summer at The Times Leader will forever be with me as well as the skills and friendships I have made will last a lifetime. I guess what everyone says is right after all––home is always where your heart is.

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