Grants to travel aboard plus the KPA internship made Samantha Tamplin’s summer perfect

By Samantha Tamplin, Eastern Kentucky University, Grant County News

Samantha Tamplin

When I got the call in that on-campus Starbucks that I was being considered for not one, but two summer internships through the Kentucky Press Association, I couldn’t wipe the smile from my face. After being awarded some unexpected grants to travel abroad this summer, I had given up hope for finishing out my co-op requirement any time soon. I was so happy to hear employers were willing to work around my schedule to help me gain valuable experience in my field while also encouraging my passion for travel.

I sat down for an interview with a small paper in Eastern Kentucky. Despite my nervousness, I felt the interview went well and the editor told me they were working on arranging housing before officially offering me the position. However, when I found out the other offer was so close to my hometown and a community I cared about, there was no contest. I knew that Grant County News was the place for me.

The minute I walked through the door on that first day in May, I felt right at home. The friendly staff immediately put me at ease – although someone did spoil the newest episode of Game of Thrones for me on my first day, but I won’t hold it against them.

The environment at Grant County News was much more fun and relaxed than I thought an office could be. My first week was mainly spent familiarizing myself a little more with the area and learning the ins and outs of working at a local paper. My editor-in-chief took me around the county, on the paper route and introduced me to important connections I needed to know in the county; we even hiked down to a pond at a local park. It was a great first week.

As the job progressed, I was able to cultivate many of the skills I have been learning in college for the past three years as I pursue my degree in journalism. I was pleasantly surprised to be given writing, editing and photography assignments right off the bat. They threw me right into real work that goes into putting a newspaper together and I quickly learned the flow of the office. I feel like part of the team and the community.

Grant County welcomed me with open arms and was a surprisingly refreshing shift from working at a student-run paper in a university environment. As an editor of my school’s paper, I often butt heads with people at the university level no matter how we try to work with them to make sure the articles are as accurate and informed as possible. If I ever have anyone come into my office there, it’s usually to fuss at me about some issue they have with whatever had been printed in the paper that week.

In my time here, I have received nothing but thanks and inquiries about where to find themselves in the paper. I have even gotten thank you notes and visits to the office to tell me how much they enjoyed the stories I write. It has been an odd but extremely affirming experience.

Because of my unique working situation, I have had the opportunity to see this paper evolve over the course of the entire summer rather than just for the 10 short weeks I was supposed to work here. Though it is a lot of work at times and slow at others, it was interesting to see the transition from a school and work focused environment to a community enjoying the majesty of summer, particularly when the pieces were focused on children. I am very grateful to have been a part of an organization like Grant County News even if it was just for a brief period of time.

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