This summer I had the privilege of working with not one, but two excellent newspapers in Eastern Kentucky – The Morehead News and the Grayson Journal-Inquirer.
I worked under two editors, Stephanie Ockerman and Leeann Akers, who taught me different things about not only what it takes to be a journalist in this day and age, but what it takes to be a female in the journalism profession.
In addition to their guidance, I also worked with Keith Kappes, Shayla Menville, Larry DeHart, and Nathan Hall at The Morehead News and Joe Lewis at the Grayson Journal-Inquirer.
The assignments I was given between the two papers varied greatly. Some of the more interesting and fun ones from The Morehead News included covering the sculpting of a life-sized “lost wax” bronze sculpture of Captain William Barber by Steve Tirone, a local artist, to add to the Doughboy sculpture in front of the newly re-constructed courthouse in West Liberty. I also got to cover the dedication ceremony.
Another assignment I had for The Morehead News was telling the story of the McClures, Winston and Jeri. Winston McClure built the House of Prayer Church from the ground up in 1972 and has continued to add on and remodel the building and the congregation to this day. He recently retired from being head pastor and gave the title to Chief Deputy Sheriff Joe Cline.
The biggest story I covered all summer was for the Grayson Journal-Inquirer and it spanned nearly a week and over 70 hours of my internship. I got to cover a murder trial, including story, background research, photos, all of it. The trial involved a car crash that happened in August of 2013, where two men were coming around a double-blind curve and crashed into each other. One man died and the other had alcohol in his system. I won’t go into details here, because it would take much more than five to six paragraphs.
I learned how to format stories and edit my work. I got a greater and more in depth knowledge of the basics of journalism. I learned how to take interesting and amazing photographs for stories. I sat in on news budget meetings and was given a chance to voice my opinion. I learned that being a woman in this profession is hard and that you have to fight your way up to even be recognized as equal to male journalists. I learned that it takes more than reporters to keep a paper going. It also takes graphic designers, advertising reps, classifieds clerks, the office staff and many others.
It is not a one-man or woman effort. You need a great team behind you in order to make the newspaper as good as it can be.