Out of his sports comfort zone, KPA intern learns he’s a (news) journalist

By Gage Johnson, Kentucky New Era/Hopkinsville, Murray State University

Gage Johnson

This summer I’ve been thrust to an environment I was not comfortable in despite working in a newsroom for almost four years and it’s been one of the best things I could’ve asked for in an internship.

In 2017, I stepped foot on campus at Murray State University with not a single minute of experience in journalism.

Shortly after arriving, I joined The Murray State News—our student-led publication—in hopes of beginning my career in sports journalism.

I went up through the ranks in our sports section, going from writer to Senior Writer, before becoming the Sports Editor.

I had no thoughts of writing anything other than sports. Sports is a huge part of my life and partially defines who I am.

So when the pandemic put a halt to all sports I found myself wondering what was going to happen not only at my internship, but the foreseeable future, knowing that there wouldn’t be much sports content to create.

I was thrust into writing news when starting with the Kentucky New Era and with the help of Editor Zirconia Alleyne and other staff members, I’ve met the challenge head on.

There have certainly been challenges in learning to be on a news beat as well as it being a remote internship because of the pandemic, but it’s been eye opening.

I feel like my writing has improved daily since starting in May and the experience has made negative thoughts I had when it came to news writing vanish.

I no longer dread writing news and also realize the magnitude of the role that I have within a community, wherever that may be.

I’ve always loved being able to tell other people’s stories, but the ability to let the community know what is happening in their area, create relationships with community members and give them a voice through my writing has been something that I’ve come to enjoy even more because of the internship.

I’m excited to continue to grow with  everything I’ve learned at the Kentucky New Era in my role of Editor-in-Chief at The Murray State News—a role I presumed right before the pandemic hit—and throughout my journalistic career.

The pandemic made me question a lot about my future in journalism with the cancellation of almost all sports, but this internship has helped me put those questions to rest.

I’ve learned a lot during this summer, but the most important thing that I’ve learned is that I’m not a sports journalist—I am a journalist.

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