Matthew Schmuck

Times Journal/News-Register, Russell County
Campbellsville University

If the trees could talk, they’d have a story worth listening to; that is how I would describe my ten-week internship at the Times Journal in Russell Springs. Where a trip to Lake Cumberland State Park proved to be worthy of appearing on an episode of America’s Funniest Home Videos.  Long story short, getting lost in the forest can be both serene and daunting at the same time.  I’m still not sure how I made it out of there, even if it did take four hours. 

My work day could not start without the hour commute to the newsroom from my hometown in Campbellsville, but once I had arrived at the TJ, I felt I was still at home. The staff treated me as if I had been there as long as they had. I never once felt like an intern, but rather a member of their newspaper family. They made long days seem busy and made my busy days go by like a breeze. There was always a smile to be shared within the office of the Times Journal. One could not script a more perfect plethora of personalities to work alongside.

From celebrating over 50 years of furniture sales, to promoting the local Farmer’s Market, the news in Russell County may not compare to that of the Lexington Herald-Leader or the Courier-Journal, in Louisville. Nonetheless, to these townspeople, reading the morning paper is just as important as the breakfast and coffee that it accompanies. This summer, I learned to appreciate all the factors that go into the making of ‘Small Town, USA’. 

Russell County taught me that an entire community could come together without question, in the wake of a tragedy. The murder of Sarah Hart, mother of three and what would have been four, dimmed the blues of the sky, leaving an impression on my heart that would bring even the strongest of men to his knees. Not having ever met this woman, it was she whom taught me the most about journalism this summer. Sarah Hart taught me that journalism has nothing to do with the writer telling a person’s story, but everything to do with a person’s story being told through the writer. The way everyone in Russell County rallied together in darkest of days; they all taught me not to tell a story, but to let the story tell itself. 

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