By Zachery Combest, Eastern Kentucky University, Elizabethtown News Enterprise
My 10-week internship started the day after I moved out of my dorm at Eastern Kentucky University and ever since it has been fast-paced and full of excitement and new adventures.
I hit the ground running at the News-Enterprise and I was lucky that the staff made my transition easy. I covered sports for my 10 weeks which I loved since I’m the Sports Editor at the Eastern Progress.
Elizabethtown is a great place to cover sports because of the eight high schools from four counties. Elizabethtown citizens love sports and it was evident when I would report on games. I received a lot of praise and thanks from players, coaches and fans about our work and coverage. I made many connections with players, coaches and community members which helped when I needed to interview people for an article.
From high school softball to little league baseball, I covered it all. I had a great time covering high school games, swimming, track and field, tennis and basketball. I covered the state tennis and track and field tournaments in Lexington and took a trip to Taylor County to report on the region baseball tournament for two days. I also reported on district softball games from Fort Knox which was interesting. One night I was leaving the base after a game and the gates were closed. After 15 minutes I found my way out and back to the newsroom. I also reported on softball games at John Hardin and Elizabethtown High School. All of the coaches were very nice and made my job easier.
My favorite by far was when I had the opportunity to report on the NASCAR races at Kentucky Speedway in Sparta. It was definitely something to check off my bucket list. I learned a lot from that experience and especially how important deadlines are since I had to send in my pictures and article before our midnight deadline. I was able to interview drivers, walk around the pits and garages and get behind-the-scenes access that only media members get. Everyone there was very nice and helpful and I enjoyed talking to other sports journalists from around the state and other states like Ohio and Tennessee.
I’ve been lucky to have traveled to many schools around the area and meet many talented athletes. I was happy to have the chance to tell their stories and maybe one day I will see them playing at the college level. I want to thank the athletes, coaches and community for allowing me to tell their stories.
Over my time in Elizabethtown, I have learned the importance of deadlines and the ins and outs of working at a daily newspaper. I had hands-on experience writing, taking pictures and designing pages. It was beneficial for me to learn more about design and page layout while I was still able to write about sports and tell stories. Even though I worked long hours at times, it was an amazing learning experience. Working with a small staff was nice because I was able to make good connections and friendships.
I was welcomed with open arms at the News-Enterprise and even offered a full-time job as a sports reporter, but instead I accepted to work a couple of extra weeks after my internship.
I would like to thank Mike Mathison for all his help covering sports with me and for helping me become a better sports reporter. I will always remember what he taught me. I would also like to thank the leadership and staff for their help and for making me feel at home this summer!
I will use a lot of what I learned at the News-Enterprise in my sophomore year at EKU and I truly believe my time in Elizabethtown has made me a better journalist and more well-rounded. I would highly recommend students to apply for a KPA internship and go outside of their comfort zone whether it comes to page layout, photography or writing about something new. I can’t wait to get back to the Progress and share my experiences and knowledge with them!