Emily Patton

Western Kentucky University
The Gleaner

When I interviewed for this internship, my future editor said, “If I hire you, this will be the hardest job you ever have.”

It’s true what people say, us journalists like our quotes. In fact, quotes are such an addicting piece of the equation in a story that in our heads while we’re talking to sources, parents, boyfriends and future bosses, we begin mentally separating the information we need to really hear from the stuff that isn’t going to matter.

So as the words left Mr. David Dixon’s mouth and swirled into my ears, a siren with a blaring, red light sounded in my head. I knew that information would be one I would need to remember.

As I enter my sixth week as an intern at the Gleaner in Henderson, Ky., I can confidently say my editor was correct.

From day one, the Gleaner staff had higher expectations for me than I’ve ever had for myself. To them, I’m not the 22 year old that will return to Western Kentucky University in the fall. To them, I’m no different than someone who has been here 30 years.

I took over a fellow employee’s police beat she had worked for 13 years, after only three days of training, which came with a laundry list of daily procedures I had never in my life done before — writing accident stories, calling hospitals to check conditions of patients, questioning about a murder case, making late calls, visiting circuit court, collecting public records from land transfers to marriages and divorces, etc.

The responsibility the Gleaner has entrusted in me is astonishing, frightening and motivating. When I expressed my concerns at the very beginning, I learned quickly that the only person who didn’t have faith in me was, well, me. I’m extremely appreciative for this trust and freedom I’ve been given, because I am continuously adding to my resume of what I will be able to bring to my next job in journalism. What I’ve learned here is priceless.

I’ve worked with obituaries, covered many fairs and festivals in Henderson County, rewrote countless press releases and produced my own features and news stories out of Ellis Park, a local horse racetrack, which has easily been the highlight of my time here. Horse racing has been a passion of mine, since I was a little girl following as a fan and a sport I hope to follow as a career.

The Gleaner has provided me with an amazing summer of experience and a step in the right direction toward this goal of mine. I have received the privilege of interviewing Calvin Borel, three-time Kentucky Derby winning jockey, along with countless staff members of Ellis, including owners, trainers, jockeys and grooms.

I am thankful for my time here at the Gleaner. It is making me a better worker, journalist and person.

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