Jacob Blair

Jacob BlairEastern Kentucky University

Carrollton News-Democrat

The best thing about interning at a smaller weekly newspaper is getting to do a little bit of everything. Jeff Moore, publisher of The News-Democrat, wanted me to recognize the value of that since the afternoon he called me and wanted me to be the intern when I was at Eastern Kentucky University.I go to EKU, where I am a senior seeking a bachelor’s of arts in journalism with a minor in political science. I’m also in the honors program and this year’s editor-in-chief of The Eastern Progress. I graduate this coming May and having been in journalism classes and writing for the Progress for two years. I had a lot of the basics down, but it’s always helpful to learn how to make your writing stronger, and the little things that can take you from a decent reporter to a great well-rounded journalist.

I remember the first day I stepped into the office at 8 a.m., I already had assignments from Kristin, the news editor, and was taking photographs at the local Relay for Life event by the end of my first week. When I was at my college newspaper, I had done some photography work but photos were more printed for the sake of having photographs, but Kristin really helped me think about framing my shots and how to get the best photographs in general.

If I said this internship wasn’t a challenge, I would not be telling the entire truth. I took hundreds of photos at events to get a few good shots and see only a handful wind up in the paper. I also didn’t realize that to upload an entire issue of the paper’s content to the website, it would take more than an hour, sometimes closer to two depending on the amount of pictures. The thought of doing layout for an 18-page back-to-school section for The Trimble Banner, in my hometown of Bedford, was honestly intimidating, but when you are working on a deadline you have no choice but to start working on it and to produce the best product possible. By the way, I was 100 percent excited when Jeff sent that section to the presses.

As an intern, I covered community events such as the Carroll and Trimble county fairs. I loved the action of the demolition derby and the motocross races, but I also covered a children’s pageant while I was at the fair (that was Kristin’s idea). I’ve covered local government through beat reporting on the Carroll County Fiscal Court, which I actually enjoyed more than covering student government. I even got to cover a fundraiser for the Carrollton Campus of Jefferson Community and Technical College, where a new campus is part of the state’s BuildSmart program. There’s just something about sitting at a table across from Mayor Gene McMurry, along with another reporter from a newspaper in Southern Indiana that makes you realize, you’re not just a college journalist.

There were days when things just seemed slower in the office, but it’s part of the territory. There’s not always going to be former University of Kentucky basketball players visiting, content to write for a special section for the Kentucky Speedway NASCAR races or juveniles breaking into and vandalizing the community center.

All in all, this internship has helped me gain confidence in my abilities and I am so grateful for the opportunity that I had to discover what makes community journalism important and how I can show that importance through my design, photography and reporting.

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