My short 10 weeks as a KPA intern at the Sentinel-News in Shelbyville have been a phenomenal learning experience, helping me grow both as a reporter and as a person as I lived on my own in a new town and started from the ground up.
In those weeks at the Sentinel-News I did a little bit of everything. I wrote stories both big and small, ranging from event coverage to breaking news, lengthy features to in-depth issue analysis.
And working as a reporter in Shelby County during both the county fair and the famous Shelbyville Horse Show was a once in a lifetime experience. I can say with certainty I now know more than I ever wanted to know about horses and the horse industry, a unique learning experience that I couldn’t have found anywhere else.
I am continually impressed at how hard working and accuracy oriented my colleagues at the paper are, producing so much content and such a high quality product with only a handful of people on staff. At the student newspaper at WKU, where I am pursuing my journalism degree, we have designated reporters, photographers, designers and copy-editors equaling a staff of more than 50 people, all who help turn out a great paper every issue.
But reality, especially for small local papers, is much different. Here in Shelbyville, the paper operates with just over 10 people, and everybody does a little bit of everything. Reporters are also photographers. They are also designers, copy-editors and everything else in between. Reporters at local papers are truly jack-of-all-trades, an important fact missing from many of WKU’s classrooms and an invaluable lesson I’ve learned as a result of taking part in this internship.
Perhaps my favorite aspect of being a reporter is the people I get to meet and the connections that link us all together. I can’t tell you how many times while conducting an interview I would meet a WKU graduate, who would welcome me with open arms, congratulate me for choosing such a great school, and speak highly of the Sentinel-News, making some interviews more like a friendly talk than anything else.
With this invaluable internship under my belt, I look forward to graduating from WKU in December and going wherever life takes me, whether it is a small-town local newspaper, big-budget magazine or anything and everything in between.