Wearing many hats as an intern at The Journal
Published 10:50 am Thursday, June 6, 2019
After applying for internships at various newsrooms in Kentucky, including the Lexington Herald-Leader, the Bowling Green Daily News and the Louisville Courier-Journal, I was delighted to be hired as an intern at The Jessamine Journal after I put in an application for the Kentucky Press Association’s paid 10-week summer internships.
I began working at The Jessamine Journal as an intern May 20 and will finish my internship in late July.
According to their website, KPA awards up to 20 internships each year, placing interns in newsrooms around Kentucky.
Newsrooms apply for interns and KPA chooses host newspapers. The Jessamine Journal was selected as a host newspaper, and the editor of the Jessamine Journal, Brittany Fuller, reached out to me for an interview because when I’m not at Western Kentucky University studying each of my majors, journalism and English with a creative writing concentration, I’m living with my parents in Jessamine County, where I’ve lived since I was about 7.
I attended Rosenwald Dunbar Elementary School, then West Jessamine Middle School and West Jessamine High School, where I graduated in 2016.
I’m currently a senior at WKU and will graduate in May 2020.
Because I’m not in Jessamine County much anymore because of school, I was excited for the opportunity to work at the county’s newspaper because I knew it would mean I’d learn about events, organizations and people in the community I had never known before, even though I’ve lived here most of my life.
To me, that’s the beauty of journalism — being able to learn a bit about everything, build connections with people and let people know about the richness, complexities and goings-on in the community right outside their doors.
One thing I appreciated during my interview was learning I’d immediately start working as a reporter on my first day, and I’d be doing a bit of everything — reporting, writing, proofreading, taking photos, running the paper’s social media platforms and other assignments.
Sure enough, I got assigned a story on my first day and two other assignments.
I don’t fetch coffee or make copies — my editor treats me exactly like a reporter, and I get the hands-on experience I crave. This is partially because including myself, there are only three of us here at The Journal, so I get assigned a lot of stories.
There are pros and cons to this.
Since the paper circulates weekly instead of daily, it’s not overwhelmingly difficult to keep up with assignments and I get to wear many hats and take on a lot of assignments, but because the staff is so small, it’s difficult to cover as many stories as we want, and some people in the community don’t know The Journal still exists.
Please tell your friends and family that yes, The Jessamine Journal’s newsroom is still located at 507 N. Main St. — the “for lease” sign is next door, not on our side of the building — and yes, we’re still operating.
Already, I wrote and shot photos for three stories that were published in the May 30 issue.
Especially because I consider myself a writer, not a photographer, I loved shooting lots of photos and both writing and taking photos for stories. Being hands-on with a lot of different tasks will help me become a well-rounded reporter, which will help me be successful in the fast-paced, competitive journalism world.
I hope to be a reporter for a magazine, newspaper or website and eventually become an editor of a magazine or website one day, so developing a diverse skill set is important.
I also appreciate the opportunity to build my portfolio, which I’ll be able to show future employers.
I get to report on everything from business to education to event coverage to features.
Another thing I appreciate about The Journal is how it keeps everything local — coverage is just in the Jessamine County area.
This ensures our coverage isn’t too watered down from having too wide an area to keep track of, and it also helps foster a sense of community because it helps prioritize the stories of the people within our own small but wonderful community.
Olivia Mohr is a Jessamine County resident and an intern at The Jessamine Journal through the Kentucky Press Association. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.