Post 1 — A heat wave, fireworks, and the journalistic dilemma

A gentle hum escapes the AC as it labors away on this particularly humid, June day. The flowers and plants droop in the sweltering heat, but my building sits proud and tall, nearly towering (fine, slightly hovering) over the neighboring houses and businesses. Such was my introduction to the Evansville Courier & Press. Inside you will find a collection of hardworking men and women, dedicated to uncovering the truth within their community. Keys click and clack – everyone is working away. 

Courier & Press logo – Image Courtesy of the Evansville Courier & Press

Since beginning my internship 2 weeks ago, I have written 3 stories and learned so much. The first was a compilation of resources on how to best escape the heat wave we were experiencing. I next wrote a story about where to see fireworks in the Evansville area. I am now polishing off a longer story about the more sinister side of fireworks (impacts on veterans, animals, and the environment) and possible solutions. I really love the approach my internship has taken in having me dive right into my work. This has really forced me to familiarize myself with the community and has also forced me to step outside of my comfort zone. My coworkers have been incredibly helpful and have answered any and all of my questions as they arise, but I have mostly been on assignments on my own which has been a really valuable experience. For my deep dive on fireworks, I have probably called at least 30 local businesses and spoken with various important institutions in the community (such as the fire department). The joy I get when introducing myself on the phone “this is Jen Crystal with the Courier Press” or from pulling out my access card to go to my desk and computer is truly unmatched. 

This internship has reinforced for me the importance of local journalism and has magnified the work these people do every day. It has also surfaced questions that I will continue to ponder as my work continues. We all watched as the landmark Roe v. Wade decision was overturned this past week. As a woman, as a student, and as a journalist I was horrified. We are now faced with the momentous task of covering the public outcry (and rejoicing), stomaching our own emotions related to this historical moment. Enter the journalistic dilemma – how do we report on these highly important issues without allowing our own bias to seep into our writing and hurt our credibility? This is certainly something I am still navigating, for in historic moments such as these it is difficult to remain quiet, but I trust that my experienced colleagues will guide me through this and lead by example. 

As I stated in my WOW application, I hope to continue to learn about the inner workings of a newsroom as I continue on in my internship. I think this first-hand experience and institutional knowledge will immensely benefit me in my journalism classes going forward. I also want to improve my writing skills in order to further my journalistic prospects post-college. I am interested in pursuing either journalism or social work professionally. Even if I go the social work route, I think that the journalism skills I will continue to develop during this internship—concise writing, communication skills, research and fact-checking techniques, and more—will be incredibly valuable in any field, especially social work.