Jenna Haugen

Western Kentucky University
University of Kansas
The Crittenden Press

If it is Wednesday afternoon around Marion, Ky., you can be guaranteed of one thing. People will be rushing to the offices of the Crittenden Press to pick up their weekly paper. Within the pages, residents will find quite similar news to that they were reading in 1879 when the Press was first published. That is stories of their neighbors and friends and the feats they have accomplished in the previous week.

A hometown girl, I jumped at the opportunity to return and write for the paper that I so eagerly looked forward to reading. It was an unexpected, yet nice treat to be one of the very first people to know the latest news of the county. It was also a priceless experience to be sharing that news with the people who have shaped my life so drastically.

I have covered many inspirational stories during my time at the Press. From following a former teacher on her Bookmobile route to highlighting a national bike trail that snakes through our small town and the many cyclists who make it their mission to conquer it, each brought me joy in seeing it published.

A series of articles on cancer survivors which promoted the local Relay for Life showed me the strength of the people in this community and the perseverance to overcome all obstacles.

Along the way, I have learned valuable lessons about journalism. It is imperative to be well prepared for an interview and ask questions that allow the interviewee to share their story, not the story you want to tell. A slight snafu with a picture reminded me to never tweak the dimensions of a picture to fit a space. Also, not everybody wants to be news.

This summer, I have become reacquainted with a community which holds a special place in my heart. While a small town, Marion has so much going for it. There are people in this community who work every day to improve the city and make life better for the residents. These people and their work are the headliners of Crittenden County.

I am thankful to have worked for such a great editor, Chris Evans, and the staff who makes the Press a success. They have found the secret to a thriving newspaper.

The most touching part of this experience was when an 82 year old woman who was in one of my stories came to the office to buy papers and said, “I’ve been waiting all my life to be front page news!”

I was honored to be given the opportunity to write front page news.

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