I first started interning for the Jessamine Journal on Monday, May 17, and now, nearly eight weeks later, I'm surprised to think that in two more weeks my summer journalism gig will come to an end.
During my time with the Journal, I've come to realize community journalism is about much more than just getting a paper out the door on Wednesday afternoons - it's about people.
When I stepped into editor Mike Moore's office for my interview, one of the last things he asked me was how I would define community journalism, and being put on the spot, I rattled off a quick response similar to what I had learned in my community journalism class at Eastern, largely based on the teachings of Jock Lauterer and his coined phrase "relentlessly local."
At the time, I had no idea the scope of how impacting local news could be to a community. I had never truly experienced it or watched it unfold, until my internship with the Journal. The Nicholasville community has been so welcoming, and I have learned so much from their work, lives and experiences.
Generally, reporters are viewed a little negatively, but here in Nicholasville I've almost felt like one of their own. They've taken me in, told me their stories and let me share them with others. People recognize you and take the time to ask how you're doing, small attributes that many big cities lost a long time ago. People care here, and it shows.
Along the way, I've also discovered that one of the more interesting aspects of being a journalist is that you never know what each day will bring, or what you'll be expected to cover - from accidents to wedding cakes to tip-toeing about monkey poo at the Jessamine County Primate Rescue Center, it's been a wild ride; especially considering that I had no idea there were exotic monkeys in Kentucky, elsewhere than in zoos.
Overall, I'm truly grateful for this opportunity, not only because I learned a lot of valuable information and skills to help me in the future, but also because of the people I've met along the way. The people I work with each day have helped me more than they know - I've watched them and learned from them. They've been so helpful in teaching me what journalism is all about, and not only have they been my teachers, but they've become my friends. And, I will miss them.
One of the main reasons that I wanted to be a journalist was to be able to make a small difference in the world, through one of the only ways I knew how – writing. I've always heard the pen is mightier than the sword. In journalism, that's true. But, here, I've learned that to make a difference you don't always have to catch someone red-handed and expose them for all their fraudulent behaviors, all you have to do is tell a story, regardless how big or small. Everyone has a story, and telling it can make a difference to someone.