Coming into my summer internship at The Record, I honestly wasn’t sure what to expect. I knew that the large newsroom I’m used to working in would not begin to compare to the extremely small newsroom I was about to be a part of. When I finally started in June, I quickly learned that I would be working way out of my comfort zone and would be learning a lot through trial and error. Ten weeks and issues later, I’m extremely excited about the confidence I’ve gained with approaching people, interviewing, capturing moments and reporting.
My proudest moment this summer was finding an angle for a drug story topic I pitched to my supervisor. I had learned about a drug that was becoming a problem within my community. After doing some digging, I found out why and how it became a problem. I had challenged myself to find what made something newsworthy and interesting and ended up with a front page (“above the fold”) story.
Possibly the biggest lesson I learned during my ten weeks was how important it is to network in this industry. I’m pretty sure my supervisor knows everyone in our community and if she doesn’t, she at least knows everyone who’s anyone and probably knows their parents’ and children’s names too. Coming out of this internship, I’ve gained connections through the local Sheriff’s Department, various councils/committees, our Board of Education and so much more. Just to have made a good first impression with these people kept them in mind when I needed sources, and they were always eager to help.
On top of all of the reporting, writing and designing I did, I also really found a niche in photojournalism. I discovered a love for taking photos of people showing their natural emotions. Some of my favorite shots I took this summer show a pageant queen getting her crown, kids playing at a local festival and a new fire chief getting sworn in. They all show an emotion in its truest form and tell a story. That’s what photojournalism is about.
One of the main reasons I chose to work with The Record was to learn about my hometown and community. You really have no idea how many places and names I didn’t know prior. Now, I feel like I could navigate my way around any city or community for story sources, or otherwise. That’s only one of many life skills I’ve picked up this summer.
All in all, this experience exceeded my expectations. I’m even more excited to start my career and I didn’t think that was possible. I definitely recommend any journalism student studying at a Kentucky university or college to consider KPA’s summer internship program as an option. Learning about a community while sharpening your journalism skills is fun.