Stories from a Purple Heart recipient to a Guinness World Record highlight intern’s introduction into ‘fast paced digital news’

By Hannah Vanover, Western Kentucky University, Beechtree News

Hannah Vanover

Being an intern at Beech Tree News has been a valuable experience and one that has taught me a lot. My previous experiences have included being a photographer at my college’s student publication and doing freelance work (mainly photo) for the local print publication in my hometown. However, for my internship I was asked to do mainly writing and reporting. This was something that brought me out of my comfort zone and allowed me to gain more experience in the writing aspect of journalism rather than just photo. I was asked to cover everything from fiscal court and city council meetings to attending luncheons and ceremonies. I traveled to different locations in the town to meet and write stories on multiple interesting people.

Working in a small town, I felt at home as everyone in Morgantown was friendly and inviting. I was introduced to local officials and townspeople soon after starting and quickly developed relationships and connections with many of them.

Making the transition from a weekly print newspaper to a daily online publication was very eye opening. I soon realized just how fast paced the world of digital news is. I had to become timelier and found myself always checking the website to make sure everything was up to date.

Beech Tree is also associated with the local radio station, WLBQ which operates out of the office as well. I had the opportunity to work with this radio station and speak on air a few times during the morning shows.

I was also given opportunities to take on ideas of my own. I took the initiative to start up a weekly post that I called “Week in Wrap” with a collection of news events and photos to summarize the given week. I even received compliments and had people telling us that they looked forward to seeing it. From meeting and learning the story of a Purple Heart recipient to witnessing and photographing a new Guinness World Record, my experiences made this summer one that I will not forget. Many people may say that there is not much news to be covered in small town, but I would have to say that they are wrong.

Being that I live only 20 minutes away from Morgantown, I was able to stay at my home over the summer while completing the internship. I was very thankful for this. No two days were alike at Beech Tree and the different experiences from day to day was something that I enjoyed. I was also able to temporarily leave my part-time job as a cashier to complete my internship. Being able to wake up every day and go to a job that I genuinely enjoyed has made me even more excited for my future in journalism.

I could not have asked for a better first internship experience. The staff at Beech Tree were very helpful and welcoming. By the end of the summer, they have all become almost like a second family of mine. I have also been given the opportunity to continue to write and photograph for Beech Tree as a freelancer after my internship is over. I am excited to continue working with the publication and look forward to seeing where this experience takes me next.

 

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