Internship at Lebanon Enterprise is ‘eye-opening,’ and just might lead to a career in newspapers

Since 1993, the Kentucky Journalism Foundation/Kentucky Press Association has funded up to 24 summer internships with KPA member newspapers. The internship program is open to any college student either attending a Kentucky college/university or a graduate of a Kentucky high school. In 2019, KPA/KJF funded 15 internships at $4,000 apiece. When the student completes or is nearing the end of the internship, we ask the student to write about the experience. This is the first of the interns for 2019 to submit a story for On Second Thought.

 

By Marlena Stokes, Summer Intern at The Lebanon Enterprise, Mestok14@students.campbellsville.edu

 

Marlena Stokes, KPA intern at the Lebanon Enterprise

If I could describe my internship experience at The Lebanon Enterprise in one word, it would be “eye-opening.”

To say I was thrown into the job would be an understatement, but I say that with the utmost gratitude. Literally, on my first day, I was sent to someone’s home and conducted my very first face-to-face interview. Though my co-reporter went with me, it was nerve-racking.

In just my first week alone, I learned how to document public records, take photos for a school event, create a photo page for said photos, and be published in print for the first time outside of my school paper. Since, I have done so much more, and every single experience has taught me how to be a better journalist.

By far, my favorite experience of this internship was interviewing and writing a feature story about a local man that was attacked by a bull and how he endured his recovery process, but then the very next week, being assigned to photograph our local fair and it’s featured event that night—the rodeo. That night, my heart got a workout. It was terrifying and exhilarating at the same time, and needless to say, it was a night I will never forget.

I have never felt so immersed in a place, and not just the job in particular, but with the people who made coming to work outside my hometown so much easier. There is one who practically knows my whole life because my desk was across from hers. The one I felt comfortable enough to call when my car’s battery died early on a Friday morning, and who then proceeded to come jump it. The one who always seemed to have an answer for any question life threw at me. The one who was always able to make me smile through her stories, the one who is the most sweet and hardworking sport fanatic, and the one goofy enough make anyone in the office laugh and roll their eyes at the silliness.

On top of it all, having a boss that was able to constructively go over every single piece I wrote and still make me feel validated for my work meant everything to me.

The level of respect I have for every single person I have worked with these past 10 weeks is truly unreal. I genuinely have no words.

I didn’t realize how much there was to learn, how much I already didn’t know. I also didn’t realize how much I would grow as a writer, and as a person.

I came into this internship thinking I did not want to pursue a job in the newspaper industry after I graduate from Campbellsville University, spring of 2020. Now, I may be more open to the idea, especially if it involves an atmosphere such as what I have experienced.

In all honesty, I don’t know what my job will be when I graduate, but I have always had one main goal I want to pursue in whatever that job may be–to seek justice. A year ago, this was going to be pursued through the legal system, but when I realized that wasn’t for me, I became passionate in journalism.

Still, my goal remains to seek justice, but in a different sense. Now, I strive for justice by earning the public’s trust and bringing an end to the monstrosity that is “fake news.”

As cheesy as it may sound, I am determined to make my mark, and I am proud to say my mark started in the city of Lebanon, KY.

I can’t thank The Enterprise enough for my experience in this internship.  A lot of it had to do with the work I accomplished, but most of it was thanks to the relationships that were built.

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