Alexandria Collis

Morehead State University
Mt. Sterling Advocate

As I began my summer at the Advocate, I have to admit, I was a little nervous. Having just completed a really rough spring semester at Morehead State, I was beginning to doubt my abilities as a journalist. This internship turned things around. Working at the Advocate has reminded me why I chose this career path.

My first major assignment as an intern—cover the dedication and ribbon cutting for the new St. Joseph Mt. Sterling. Not sure exactly what I was getting myself into, I made my way to the hospital, camera and notepad in hand, knowing that they were depending on me to do a good job. As I listened to each of the speakers, I quickly realized what a big deal this new facility was to Montgomery County. It was a great opportunity for me to hone my photography skills, but it was also a chance to get a feel for the city of Mt. Sterling, where I would be working for the next two months.

As the summer has progressed, I have taken numerous pictures of ribbon cuttings, presentations and even got to cover the Relay for Life. Coming into my internship, I was familiar with a digital camera, but was far from being a professional photographer. After taking many photos this summer, I feel that my photography skills have definitely improved, and I even got some shots I’m really proud of.

My favorite experiences at the Advocate are the many feature stories I have written.  I have always loved getting the chance to meet interesting people doing interesting and different things, so each time my editor brought me a new story idea, my first thought usually was, “That is so cool!”

I’ve written stories about a Mt. Sterling resident who owns a huge Santa collection, the Old Magowan Home (built during the Civil War) and its first owner, a Mt. Sterling man, who with his company helps to fight wildfires across the nation, the MCHS cheerleaders, a man from Scotland who stopped in Mt. Sterling as he was biking his way across the U.S. and more. It was humbling to share the story of cancer survivor Sally Whited, a true fighter, as it also was to share the stories of Mt. Sterling residents who had visited tornado devastated areas of the U.S.

 Getting the chance to talk to these people and write about their lives was a lot of fun, and has shed light on what avenue of journalism I want to pursue in the future—feature writing. It has also shown me that in a world where the future of newspapers is often questioned, the future of community journalism has a great outlook. As long as people within communities such as Mt. Sterling continue to do great things, newspapers will still exist to share their stories—stories that really mean something.

Though confident in my ability to write a decent feature, I was a little shaky when it came to covering police news. Having very little experience aside from what I had learned in the classroom, I was at first a little unsure on whether or not I was asking the right questions. Now, in my last week of my internship, I am more confident in my ability to complete this type of story. A thank you is in order for all of the officers at the police dept. and sheriff’s office for having patience with me when I called repetitively, and to the detective that unlocked my car for me after I brilliantly locked my keys inside in a rush to get to a photo assignment. I appreciate all of the help.

Along with photography and writing, I also got my first taste of writing obituaries, engagement and birth announcements, court dockets and property transfers. This may not be the most exciting or hard-hitting part of journalism, but I think it’s something every journalist should know how to do, and I’m glad I can add it to my resume.

I could not have asked for a better place for my first internship. The staff here at the Advocate have been very helpful and the people of Mt. Sterling very welcoming. These past 10 weeks have gone by so quickly, and I’m sad to go. However, the things I have learned here will stay with me when I return as managing editor for MSU’s student newspaper in the fall, and as I continue on in my journalism career.

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