Previous experience was only with an online student newspaper at Morehead State University
Alyssa Allen, Cynthiana Democrat, Morehead State University
I’m going to be brutally honest: I never expected to do a KPA Internship.
I hadn’t expected anything to come of my application, as I was a first-year student in the Convergent Media program at Morehead State University. I didn’t feel like I had the right level of experience.
When Becky Barnes contacted me about completing my internship at the Cynthiana Democrat, I was over the moon.
I was also anxious. The Trail Blazer is a student-led online newspaper. I didn’t know anything about working for a newspaper that printed issues every week. However, John Flavell, my advisor at the student newspaper, told me that Cynthiana would be good for me and I trusted him.
He didn’t lead me wrong.
From my first week at the Democrat, I started gaining experiences I hadn’t gotten with The Trail Blazer. On my first day, Lee Kendall took me out to the sheriff’s office to type up reports. On my third day, I was able to watch the staff paginate the paper.
Throughout the weeks, I’ve graduated from watching the pagination to paginating entire pages on my own with minimal help. I’ve learned how to take quick notes instead recording conversations. I learned to always take notes, even if you are recording. I’ve learned to keep an editing checklist so I can catch my most common mistakes. I couldn’t even begin to list everything I’ve learned here.
Even though I have learned a lot about journalistic writing, I’ve learned more about the importance of community. Community is essential to journalism, especially for a small newspaper like the Democrat.
I have said it many times in my articles and I will say it once again: the sense of community in Cynthiana is truly incredible. Everybody is so welcoming and they are almost always happy to talk to you. So many of my stories came from simple conversations with people within the community.
That sense of community is probably the most important thing that came out of my internship. It taught me to get out and talk to people. Even if you don’t have anything to talk about, you’ll find something soon enough. By my seventh week here, I held down an entire 30-minute conversation with the fire chief after simply saying a hello in passing.
The people I have met and connected with here in Cynthiana have taught me so much about how heavily community ties into journalism. I already have plans to come back to this area and potentially write feature stories for the Boyd Station Project, which is a program for up-and-coming talent started by USA Today photographer Jack Gruber.
This internship, however unplanned it may have been, has been one of the best learning experiences I’ve had so far. It’s given me more pride in what I do and excitement to continue doing it.