By Chase Campbell
Thank you, Carrollton.
I mean it, I really do. This piece used to be assigned as part of the internship, but now I’m writing it because I love every reader of this paper. Every time I went to Speedway for my Goldfish and Hershey bar, there seemed to be someone in line in front of me buying a News-Democrat. For that, for reading the paper that I got to be a part of for the last 10 weeks, I’m eternally grateful.
When I got here, I was a young, 19-year-old broadcast student. I’m still the same student leaving, but now my heart has a new piece added to it. There’s a new space there for the city of Carrollton and its people. It was difficult to learn what I needed to learn, but I’m going back to school a better journalist.
To the Meffords, who seemed to have a child participating in every event I covered, to Susan Carlisle, one of the most welcoming and pleasant people I’ve had the honor of interacting with, thank you (and again, to the Meffords for making learning last names way easier than I thought).
Thank you to the CCHS softball team, for letting me continue to be a sports writer and learn photography by shooting your first district championship win. Your welcoming spirit and dugout card games won’t be forgotten any time soon.
While my desk will be vacant (unless Kristin goes and gets a fall intern and betrays me and makes me very sad) at the Sixth Street office, a piece of my heart will stay in the rolling chair with the arm rests worn out and tears in the back padding.
I learned photography and community journalism by connecting with your town, your home, and you let me be a part of it, which I can’t thank you enough for. The people saying hello to me and treating me as part of their town at the events I was covering was so special to me. I feel like, in my own way, I am going to always be a part of your town. At least to myself.
I got to write an (apparently) unforgettable column about the ridiculousness of the IHOb marketing campaign, which was definitely intended as satire. I do hope no die-hard IHOP fans took that to heart. It was meant as a brief history lesson and silly column. Either way, the response to it was fun and I got to have fantastic conversations about it.
I got to eat a couple lunches at Welch’s, looking over the Ohio River as I prepared for the second half of my day from the circular table in the back-left corner. I got to experience Cooper’s with the rest of the staff as they showed me what “real Carrollton food” was, which apparently meant 26 packets of ketchup in a single to-go bag (I still have some and am taking them back with me to Lexington). Every experience I’ve had in your home is one I wouldn’t change.
As I head back to Central Kentucky to move forward with yet another year studying journalism, the experiences I had over the last 10 weeks here in Carrollton will remain a part of me. I thank each and every person more times than I think I physically can, because you all gave me an experience I’d be hard-pressed to find anywhere else. It didn’t have the glitz or glamor of internships with ESPN or Turner Media, but it gave me something every bit as valuable as any of those: It helped me include humanity in my work. It taught me to love it, even if I didn’t love what it was about.
Goodbye, Carrollton. Hopefully I’ll be back soon to throw more stress balls around.