Tragedy strikes Evansville whilst my internship is coming to a close: a house explosion, killing 3 people and destroying numerous houses, shakes the community. Although a sad way to leave Evansville, this rather abrupt close has prompted a lot of reflection on my part. Namely, in times like these, the importance of local journalism is abundantly clear. Although I have not been involved with this reporting, the experience of hearing and seeing how a newsroom mobilizes in times of crisis has been incredibly valuable.
This internship gave me so much perspective, both in being able to observe different communities’ and peoples’ ways of life, as well as providing me with insight on what careers/opportunities I wish to pursue in the future. I fell in love with this small but mighty newspaper, filled with bright and quiet (yet at the same time also tenacious) journalists.
This summer, I have identified what kind of workplace I value. I now know that I require a loud and busy environment in order to effectively work. I have also learned that I do not want a desk job. I want to work with people and do so in person (pending public health safety, of course). Due to office and family COVID-19 cases, I spent a lot of the summer working from home, something I would like to minimize going forward if possible.
I am most proud of the connections I made in the community and my increased confidence in interviewing and writing. Little things like introducing myself on the phone to sources brought such a rush – “This is Jen Crystal with the Courier & Press. It was so exciting to claim belonging to an organization in that kind of way, and it was so rewarding to afterward have learned new things from interesting community members. My favorite thing about journalism has been and continues to be the level of trust sources put into their writers to honestly and respectfully portray themselves and their experiences. I think I have grown a lot as a writer and as an interviewer this summer, and I am immensely proud of that growth.
Here is my advice to people hoping to enter or intern in this field:
- Be persistent – In finding sources, interviewing, and even in finding your internship, do not hesitate to go through unusual channels if your initial outreach doesn’t pan through.
- If there isn’t an internship program in place, don’t let that hold you back – Although the Courier & Press does have an official internship program, I reached out to the newspaper’s editors and acquired my internship that way. Especially with programs like WoW, you can work with your employers to create a position if a formal/paid position does not exist or is not available.