Ellen Hittson

Campbellsville University
Central Kentucky News Journal 

Before being given the opportunity to intern for the Central Kentucky News-Journal, I had lived in Campbellsville for about three years. With that said, my impression of the city was one I will not share – because I was wrong.

I started realizing that there was more to Campbellsville than Wal-Mart and Campbellsville University on day one of my internship. Campbellsville may be small, but the community here falls nothing short of having a big heart.

My first day with the CKNJ is one that I will not forget. No time passed before I received my first assignment. I was asked to cover the Green River Lake flooding. I will admit I was a little embarrassed to tell the editor, Becky Cassell, that I had no clue where to find the lake. However, I blurted it out, and her mouth dropped open in disbelief. She began explaining directions while drawing a hand-sketched map, and the adventure began.

As I was driving down the curvy road to the lake, I couldn’t help wondering if I was going to be able to live up to the standards of the News-Journal. All I knew is that I didn’t want to let down the office, the community, or any of my professors.

With a few articles under my belt and the guidance from the office, I was beginning to feel comfortable interviewing. Becky gave me advice that I will always carry with me: she once told me to always remember to ask open-ended questions. When I learned how to use this advice, the interviews became easier for everyone, and I got to know some pretty remarkable individuals.

Phyllus Harrison is someone whose story grasped my heart and didn’t let go. I was worried about her interview beforehand because I know how personal the journey of an illness can be. Phyllus, a cancer survivor, and her husband Sam invited me into their home with open arms. As she was speaking to me and showing me letters she had received, I was inspired and rejuvenated as a writer. I saw firsthand how important it can be to share the stories of others, even if it only affects one individual. However, this time, that individual was myself.

As the weeks went on, I wrote articles covering topics such as farming, preachers, wrecks, priests, safety and more. However, I didn’t always know anything about my subject. I would try to learn as much as I could before the interview; I just wanted to be prepared. Throughout my internship, I was given a variety of stories and am thankful for being able to have gotten my feet wet in the news-world.

But writing was only the beginning of my tasks at the News-Journal. I usually gathered a photo for every article I wrote. Sometimes, I was only sent to take a photograph. Taking photos has always been something I enjoyed. It has been interesting trying to take photos that illustrate specific articles.

Now that I am sitting here reflecting on my summer, I have learned more than I can even begin to write down. After every article I wrote, we sat down and would revise the copy until it was ready to go to press.

My experience with the Central Kentucky News-Journal is one that has helped me grow. I am thankful for the patience and all of the support I have received from Becky, James and Calen. Without their guidance, I wouldn’t have come as far as I have today.

 

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