Sarah Beach

The News-Democrat
Western Kentucky University 

In a small town, the newspaper is a big deal. 

As a child, writing a small, family newspaper was what I did for fun. But I never thought I would ever actually work for one. 

Later, as an upcoming freshman at WKU with a focus in communication studies, I never saw myself as the journalist type. However, when I met our well-known local editor in town that summer, I knew that working for The News-Democrat in Carrollton would be my next summer job.  

My class schedule, however, had no journalism classes in it. As a communication major, I was even advised against them. 

Needless to say, I approached my first day on the job earlier this summer with a considerable degree of apprehension.  I remember my first telephone interview vividly—I thought I would drop the phone. 

I soon learned the importance of recording meetings, how to write headlines, cutlines and bylines and to never, ever use the Oxford comma. 

I went from a childhood of eagerly poring over the paper every Wednesday afternoon for some mention of anyone I knew, to seeing my name on nearly every page. 

I certainly got to know my county—and the neighboring county, since I was shared with the Trimble Banner—much more intimately. I enjoyed talking to prominent people whom I had known by sight all my life but had rarely been on a first-name basis with.

My favorite stories were the features. I love helping someone to tell their story and I liked learning about their lives. My most gratifying days at work were the ones when I felt that I had helped anyone in any way, like my story about local foster children or the animal support group. 

I must extend my sincere gratitude to my kind mentors who helped me to learn these things. I’m humbled and grateful for the patience and support they gave me.  

I must also send my gratitude to those who read our paper every week and who were so positive about my stories.  

And finally I must thank those at the Kentucky Press Association. I learned a valuable skill which I will use all my life—in my writing career and in other ways. I was able to do a summer job that pertained to my major and taught me about myself as a person. 

Now I will go back to study abroad in England this fall where I will use the skills I have learned to blog about my experience on The News-Democrat website. I am excited for my future life, wherever it may lead me. 

And that small town will be here, just the same, when I return. 

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