Richmond Register intern experiences the pandemic by ‘living through it firsthand’

By Emily Patrick, Richmond Register, Eastern Kentucky University

            Emily Patrick

This summer I was an intern for the Richmond Register. I was offered the position right before I went on Spring Break, which at the time I did not realize, would extend until my graduation day.

Not only was the world going through major changes, but so was local journalism. The Register in particular faced major cuts during my last few months of school, and while a pandemic raged on, ad sales dropped and money became tight.

By the time I was brought onto the team, around eight employees had been furloughed and the newspaper had lost its Editor-In-Chief. Reading about the financial impacts of the pandemic is nothing like living through it firsthand.

During my first week I was tasked with tackling a majority of the stories for the Register’s Madison Magazine. I was excited to get back to writing – but obviously there were new protocols that us journalists had to adjust to. Face-to-face interviews are now few and far between, and most things are done over the phone or through email – something which I always understood to be a last-ditch effort. Masks are also  necessary, and so is social distancing in the office – if you even come into an office nowadays.

Regardless, the staff and I persevered, and I am proud of the work we have done over these 10 weeks. It’s tough to find news stories that don’t revolve around COVID-19 – it’s even harder to find positive news stories in the current political and economical climate. However, we’ve succeeded at both of those.

Navigating through this time as a journalist in a world where newspapers are facing great strife is an important experience. It’s reality. It’s something professors can’t teach you and writers can’t explain to you – this is the world we need to learn about ourselves. These are the times in which journalism truly matters.

I’ve learned a lot these past months and I’ve enjoyed my time at The Register. A few favorite stories of mine are my coverage on the Newby Country Store in Madison County and my magazine article about the changes local churches have faced due to the pandemic. I think this internship helped me round out my writing skills and I made a lot of friends along the way.

The Register has a great team of hardworking writers who shoulder a lot of responsibility, but they persevere to do what needs to be done – and I’m lucky to have worked alongside them as they showed me that even through the hardest times, there’s still a job to be done.

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