Morehead State University
State Journal Staff Writer
The State Journal is covered in dark grey soot that bellows from the smokestacks at Buffalo Trace Distillery across the street.
I had noticed the ash-like substance before, but never realized how prominent it looked until two other reporters and I pulled into the parking lot from our weekly Friday lunch, and Josh Raymer, a fresh-out-of-college sports writer suggested, “We need to pressure wash The State Journal.”
Phil Case, the 34-year news veteran responded sharply, “Do you want to pay to pressure-wash the building or do you want a raise?”
It was that day that this intern learned her most important lesson of the summer.
I learned many useful things at Frankfort’s local newspaper. I improved my grammar and writing skills, met a daily deadline and started using quirky journalism jargon.
I met a slew of interesting people including: Frankfort’s Mayor, Gippy Graham, Kentucky’s governor, Steve Bashear, and a Romanian immigrant who escaped communism to come to America.
It took only a few weeks on the job for me to learn that I love being a reporter, I love being a writer and I love Frankfort.
I learned that I’m storyteller.
I learned the printed version of the newspaper has limited space. Each word must be carefully selected so that all important people and details are included, while still writing the kind of story that captures moments, the important ones that get clipped, framed and hung on the walls by proud family members.
Though most of these lessons were life changing, I still learned something more important from an internship that was only supposed to teach me how to work in the real world.
The most important thing came from my colleagues at that fateful Friday lunch when reality sank in: my story-writing-real-world is in trouble.
The Internet age is leaving many traditional newspapers in the dust and many consumers are appalled by the idea of paying to read news online.
No need for immediate alarm, The State Journal isn’t closing its doors tomorrow, but it’s a fact that the newspaper business isn’t the news superpower that is used to be.
Newspapers across the nation are laying-off employees, suspending pay raises and cutting corners, at least until they figure out how to adapt to the all-knowing, quick and easy Internet.
With my last year of college approaching and graduation just around the corner, this internship has taught me that I have to be prepared for a day when no one can pay me to tell my beloved stories, a day when there are not pictures to clip and articles to frame, a day when blogs and social networking suffice to inform the public about current events.
I leave this town saddened by what the future holds for news and I leave my colleagues at The State Journal with the same pressing dilemma that opened my eyes to reality:
“Do you want to pay to pressure-wash the building or do you want a raise?”