In late May, my editor Chris Dunn and I met with Starr’s Mill High School teacher Justin Spencer about his high school students interning for our newspaper over the summer. I was pleased and excited with the level of interest his students had in taking a part out of their summer to learn what it’s like to be a reporter for a local newspaper.
Four students, Hayeon Choi, Ashton Long, Jenna Sanders and Kyle Soto, completed the internship, which ended Friday, Aug. 4. The amount of work they each put into the internship showed their passion for journalism, and to see that passion at such a young age is impressive.
Throughout the summer, I tried not to give the interns busy work, but rather to teach them valuable reporting and writing skills that they can take with them During our short time together, I put a lot on their plate, and these students handled it with ease.
With this being the first summer internship we’ve done with the local high school students, there were bumps along the road. Not every plan I had in June worked as I thought it might, and likewise, not every story the students worked on came out exactly as they’d hoped. But it was a learning process, and a lesson that not every story you report will end up exactly like you plan, so always have a backup plan.
We would like to continue this internship in future summers, hopefully pulling from multiple schools and bringing together a diverse group of individuals who all share the same goal.
At my final meeting with the interns, I told them that if they have a story they want to work on that they feel has an interest to the local community, they can reach out to us and we can plan to publish one of their stories in our paper. They don’t have to wait until next summer. I extend that invitation to all high school journalists in the area. You’re never too young to do something incredible, so if you’re passionate about journalism, contact us at the newspaper and we’ll work with you to help you produce a compelling story.