Mt. Sterling Advocate
For the past ten week of the summer of 2014, I, Sara Justice, have spent my time working at the Mt. Sterling Advocate in Mt. Sterling, Ky.
I worked on my photography skills a great amount. The Advocate provided me with a Canon EOS Rebel T3 and sent me on several photography assignments. Several times my photos were featured on the front page of the newspaper. I’ve always been more on the writing side of journalism, but I can definitely say I love the photography side as well. I’ve enjoyed having the opportunity to try new things and really get to know how to work the camera. Photography let me be more creative with angles, focusing, light and perspective. It helped me portray a story in a way that I wasn’t as familiar with.
One of the assignments that I recently did was females working in a male-dominated industry. I was put into contact with a female police office and a female firefighter. Each of them are the only females employed at their jobs. I did multiple interviews with both of them, mainly over the phone, and then went to get pictures of them. The piece ended up going from a smaller article to a complete feature piece that took up the entire front page. I love being able to do more of creative feature articles, because I am very interested in word play and making everything seem grand. I also love that it was honoring two women that this town probably didn’t think about. Being the only woman amongst the men can’t always be the easiest job and I’m glad that I could give them some recognition.
I also did a story about a woman that makes caps for people with cancer. It was a truly touching story about a woman that ran a salon and all the chemicals she was around messed up her lungs and put her into a coma. Her family decided to turn off her life support and the day before that was to happen, she woke up from her coma. She then turned her life completely around. Closed her shop, reopened it in her basement so that she could take care of her sun, started going back to church and was inspired by her aunt that passed away from cancer to do something to help cancer patients. She said that she had never made caps before, but felt she should give it a try and it came naturally to her. She gives them away for free and personalizes them for every patient. When the article came out she sent a thank you letter to our newspaper saying that she cried when she read it. This was also a feature piece that made the front page.
Other than stories and photography, I also learned more about deadlines. Newspapers are on tight deadlines. Since my school has an online paper, we aren’t as pressured. I also had weekly meetings with the publisher, which helped me speak up and be more comfortable in that type of setting. I learned how an eight hour work day is. My writing skills have definitely gotten stronger as well and I have a clear style as a writer. My communication skills have grown, as I have had to talk to more people and interact with them whether I necessarily wanted to or not.
I’ve appreciated being an intern at the Mt. Sterling Advocate. It has taught me new things that I will carry with me throughout whatever career I so choose. However, I do not think I am meant to be in newspaper. I like it, but I don’t know if it’s the path that I want to go down. I suppose I will find out with time, but I’ve enjoyed my time here. I’m glad for the experience.