No matter how small, practical, hands on experience will help a writer grow far more than a classroom. That’s what I had always heard, and that’s what I know after my summer working with the Falmouth Outlook.
Before my internship, I primarily wrote opinion columns concerning world issues and happenings around my campus of Eastern Kentucky University. I was hesitant to take on news or features, as interviewing strangers made me nervous, and I didn’t think my note taking skills were up to par with my peers.
At The Outlook, I was thrown into the action from day one. My assignments ranged from features on local businesses, to researching Falmouth history, to interviewing the town’s new police officers throughout the Falmouth Police Department’s many transitions.
I also covered more regrettable events, such as the death of a man killed by an overturned tractor. Plenty of wrecks needed covering, but thankfully injuries were minimal.
My design skills were sharpened through my responsibility of laying out a few pages a week, and I developed a better understanding and composition in photography. The highlight of my time at The Outlook, however, was the opportunity that presented itself after week two.
My editor approached me with a story about a mother who lost her daughter to Kentucky’s heroin epidemic, and her daughter had documented her struggle through poems and journal entries. I worked with the mother, visited a drug rehab center and talked with people who are on the front lines of the fight against heroin in writing the story. I produced more than 11,000 words over 7 parts and a small photo collection, a project I’m thankful to have under my belt this early in my career.
Now, it’s back to school, where I’m excited to take on bigger stories and a much larger role in my school paper. Thanks to The Outlook for the many opportunities, and thanks to Kentucky Press Association for making it all happen.