My experience with The Dawson Springs Progress has helped to form me into a better journalist. I had my hands on every part of the production process while interning. I followed my stories from the interviewing process to laying them out on the page.
Before this summer, I did not have much experience with photography. Scott Dillingham, the publisher, gave me a crash course on the camera, and I was put to work. Much of my time with photography was spent at the city park covering softball, baseball and teeball games. I had taken one good shot of a teeball player that people continued complementing throughout the summer. Not every week’s pictures were great but Scott used each shot to show me how I could improve. My confidence in photography has improved a great deal in just 10 weeks.
Scott taught me so much during my internship. He showed me how to edit pictures, design pages, write cutlines and write headlines.
He also gave me opportuities to lay out pages. Once this summer Scott had to be out of town on production day. He was confident enough in me that he left me to layout the front and jump pages. That meant the world to me, as an intern, to be given that opportunity. I can’t thank him enough.
Not only did I learn more about photography and InDesign, but I got my first taste of covering various meetings. I attended city council meetings, chamber of commerce meetings, elementary and junior-senior high school site based meetings and school board meetings. This experience I would have to say, was my most difficult hurdle. I had trouble keeping up with the discussion. I quickly developed my own shorthand.
I even got to cover the opening of a county attorney office at the historic Darby House.
I wasn’t thrown into these meetings alone. Coworker Carolyn Walker, a retired high school English teacher, sat by my side through every part. Carolyn has been one of my biggest assets during my time at the Progress.
She taught me new ways of editing my own work that I will always use. I also had the opportunity to strengthen my skills in feature writing. I covered ribbon cuttings for new businesses. I also covered annual events such as the Dawson Springs Fun Weekend, the sauce making for the annual homecoming barbecue, and the crowning of this year’s Miss Dawson Springs.
Mrs. Faye was my other coworker, and she taught me all there was to know about headlines and cutlines. I shadowed her many days as she laid out the People pages along with the obituaries. She always commented that I was more computer savvy than she was when she started and that I probably knew everything she was teaching me, but yet, she was teaching me all along.
The newsroom atmosphere at the Progress was calm and productive. There was rarely ever a day when things didn’t go smoothly. I learned a lot about newspaper production during my ten weeks, but this town taught me about community. I have had several instances where people I hadn’t met stopped me and said they have enjoyed my articles. I had one Dawson Springs resident notice me leaving the Progress and stopped his truck in the middle of the road to tell me he liked my articles.
I have gained so much experience, not just writing but in every part of production. I am so grateful to Scott and the Kentucky Press Association for giving me this opportunity.