Meghan McKinney

Meghan McKinneyGrayson Record
Eastern Kentucky University

The closest I’d ever come to journalistic writing before this internship was in third grade when I wrote a feature article on giraffes. It always frustrated me that informational writing had no ‘point,’ whereas I absolutely loved writing analysis papers on books where I could argue a clear thesis with solid support. Since that third grade article, I’ve been much more focused on writing lengthy analysis essays—the preferable option for me.

I decided to apply for a newspaper internship for the experience, which is a weighty word in the career world. I’ve dreamt of being a book editor for years, and it didn’t take long to notice that most editing jobs tend to choose a candidate with newspaper experience. This summer, I got mine, and much more than I expected. I got to experience the inner workings of a newspaper, how to write for them, nine hours of a fiddling competition in 100 degree weather, a demonstration on proper alfalfa farming, and many more things I never thought I’d do—but I had fun doing all of it.

On my first day at The Record, I was given an assignment and immediately pushed out of my comfort zone. For my first project, I had to interview several cancer survivors about their experiences, which I assumed would be terribly intrusive and awkward. Surprisingly, everyone seemed happy to share their stories for a good cause and I had much more fun writing about them than I expected. One of the most rewarding parts, though, was running into and being recognized by these people later on.

My internship was in a community I had never lived in or even visited, so each assignment was a learning experience both on the topic and the county. Many members of the rural community were bound together by their passion for farming, creating an admirable sense of community I had rarely if ever experienced. In almost every story I wrote, people would proclaim how supportive the community was in whatever endeavor it was I was exploring, from clothing drives to the opening of local businesses to a Korean man who stopped through on his bicycling trip across the country.

Though the writing was a drastic change in pace from my usual 5-page, thesis-driven analyses I’d gotten used to as a literature major, I quickly realized how much I enjoyed writing for a newspaper article. The people I encountered were never short of interesting, and it was always fun to make their unique personalities and causes come through in my writing. I no longer considered journalistic writing ‘without a point’ simply because it lacked a thesis statement and text support; I realized that the ‘point’ of each of my stories was to highlight the wonderful people and events I got to cover.

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