Fayette County News

Fayette County


Fayette Newspapers teams up with Starr’s Mill for summer program

Members of the Fayette Newspapers Summer Journalism Internship (L to R) Kyle Soto, Ashton Long, Abri Hausman, Amy Orr, and Hayeon Choi. (Not pictured: Taylor Milligan, Jenna Sanders, Rilee Stapleton)
Members of the Fayette Newspapers Summer Journalism Internship (L to R) Kyle Soto, Ashton Long, Abri Hausman, Amy Orr, and Hayeon Choi. (Not pictured: Taylor Milligan, Jenna Sanders, Rilee Stapleton)

Throughout the summer, you may notice some new bylines and different perspectives coming from Fayette Newspapers.

As the school year was nearing an end, I was thinking of ways in which I could educate some of the talented high school journalism students from Fayette County while simultaneously improving and diversifying the overall content of our newspaper.

I decided to team up with Starr’s Mill High School teacher Justin Spencer, who met with me and our editor Chris Dunn to discuss ways in which we could give some of his passionate journalism students a chance to improve their skills over the summer.

The Fayette Newspapers Summer Journalism Internship has welcomed in seven current Starr’s Mill students and one former student headed to Georgia State in the fall. All eight interns meet at the office three times a week to learn as much as they can about journalism and discuss how to approach the various stories they will be working on throughout the summer.

I told the interns during one of our first meetings that one of the greatest qualities a journalist can have is curiosity. That’s exactly what sparked intern Ashton Long to pursue journalism.

Living in Florida at age 12, Long watched news stations interviewing tourists on their way to Disney World.

“I would go run up to them and ask, ‘so what’s this like?'” Long said.

Another intern, Hayeon Choi, decided she liked journalism because she enjoys learning about the world around her and loves talking with others to gather facts and perspectives to create informative news articles.

Taylor Milligan graduated from Starr’s Mill in the spring, is attending Georgia State in the fall and is partnering with AVPride to learn more about journalism to see if this is a career she wishes to pursue in college.

Abri Hausman has found a passion for journalism in telling stories that most people are embarrassed by or afraid to discuss, especially those stories relating to gender equality and the LGBTQ community.

“I’m a huge social justice advocate. I’ll write anything from feminism to racial equality to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender equality,” Hausman said. “Basically, any kind of equality and I’m all over it.”

Amy Orr’s desire to pursue journalism sprouted from an interest in creative writing. She has been practicing journalism for one year and hopes to attend University of Georgia for its journalism program.

Rilee Stapleton, who is from Missouri, hopes to be a part of the journalism program at the University of Missouri after he graduates from Starr’s Mill. An aspiring sports writer, Stapleton got his inspiration from the late Stuart Scott, an ESPN anchor known for his electric personality. Stapleton often watches sports and pictures himself in the press box during some of the biggest games.

“Those people that get to experience those things and capture that moment, that’s something that I want to do,” Stapleton said.

Jenna Sanders noticed a lack of female sports journalists growing up, and she decided she wanted to be one of the people who changed that. She looks up to ESPN anchor Sage Steele, and hopes to reach that stage one day.

“Whenever I was told we could write for an actual paper, I knew that was something I wanted to do,” Sanders said of the opportunity to write for Fayette Newspapers this summer.

Kyle Soto began as a sports writer, but soon ventured towards writing news and features. He said that journalism reignited his love for writing.

Only a few weeks in, I can see that each of these students has great potential to be incredible journalists. I expect that by the end of the summer, they will be ready to not only show off their talent at Starr’s Mill’s Prowler News, but also be many steps ahead when they begin college.

This story was compiled from profiles each intern wrote of one another at the start of their internship.

By Justin Fedich

Justin Fedich is a reporter for the Fayette County News. He has been a reporter for various papers around the Southeast, including the Athens Banner-Herald and the Selma Times-Journal. Justin is a graduate of the University of Georgia with a degree in digital and broadcast journalism and a sports media certificate.