Over the summer while most students were relaxing by the pool, I had the opportunity
to cover once-in-a-lifetime events and gain experience as a newspaper high school sports journalist in Elizabethtown, Kentucky.
I accepted a 10-week internship at the News-Enterprise in the spring through
the Kentucky Press Association internship program. My internship started the day after
I moved out of my dorm at Eastern Kentucky University, and since day one it was full of new adventures.
I hit the ground running at the News- Enterprise with high expectations. My first
assignment was to take over the social media accounts during their annual Select Preps Awards Banquet for area high school athletes and coaches. It was an eye-opening experience that reminded me of the ESPYs, the Excellence in Sports Performance Yearly Award..
I covered sports for my 10-weeks which I loved since I’m the sports editor for the Eastern Progress. Elizabethtown is a great place to cover sports because of the eight high schools from four counties. Elizabethtown citizens love sports, and it was evident when I would report on games. I received a lot of praise and thanks from players, coaches and fans about our work and coverage. I made many connections with players, coaches and community members which helped when I needed to interview people for articles.
I was able to cover some of the most exciting games like the Region 6 baseball tournament championship down to the less exciting little league softball and baseball games which took forever and I was only there to get pictures.
I had a great time covering high school games, swimming, track and field, tennis and summer basketball. I covered the state tennis and track and field tournaments in Lexington
and took a trip to Taylor County to report on the region baseball tournament for two days.
I also reported on district softball games from Fort Knox which was interesting to say the least. One night I was leaving the military base after a game and the gates were closed for the night. After 15 minutes, I found my way out of the base, and yes, I made my deadline. I also reported on softball games at John Hardin and Elizabethtown High School.
Reporting on high school softball was a
lot of fun because of the knowledgeable and friendly coaches and players. Every interaction I had with a player or coach was great and many coaches talked to me like they had known me for years.
My favorite experience by far was when I had the opportunity to report on the NASCAR races at Kentucky Speedway in Sparta. It was definitely something to check off my bucket list. I learned a lot from that experience and especially how important deadlines are since
I had to send in my pictures and article before our midnight deadline. I was able to interview drivers, walk around the pits and garages and get behind-the-scenes access.
Over my time in Elizabethtown, I learned the importance of deadlines and the ins and
outs of working at a daily newspaper. I had hands-on experience writing, taking pictures and designing pages. It was beneficial for me to learn more about design and page layout while I was still able to write about sports and tell stories. Even though I worked long hours at times, it was an amazing learning experience.
I’ve been lucky to have traveled to many schools around the area and meet many talented athletes. I was happy to have the chance to tell their stories and maybe one day I will see them playing at the college level.
I was welcomed with open arms at the News-Enterprise and even offered a full-time job as a sports reporter. Instead, I accepted to work a couple of extra weeks after my internship was scheduled to end.
I will use a lot of what I learned at the News-Enterprise in my sophomore year
at EKU and I truly believe my time in Elizabethtown has made me a better journalist and more well-rounded as a person. I would highly recommend students to apply for a KPA internship and go outside of their comfort zone whether it comes to page layout, photography or writing about something new.