This week the paper is proud to introduce its first summer interns. You can learn more about Terry and Sam [here]. However, I wanted to dive a bit deeper as to why I’m so energized by the enthusiastic response we’ve received to our internship program.
As you may remember, a bit back I announced that we were looking for summer interns. I’ve strived since the beginning to use the O’Fallon Weekly as a vehicle to provide students and young journalists with the experience they need to further their careers. I wouldn’t be where I am today if a newspaper owner in Staunton hadn’t called me back when I submitted a random article. What he may or may not have known is that I submitted that article to more than 30 papers, desperately looking for some guidance. He gave me the chance I needed to get some published work in my portfolio, which allowed me to continue to advance along, go on to other jobs, and eventually learn what I needed to know to start the O’Fallon Weekly.
What’s cool is that each internship applicant brought something different to the table. Terry and Sam are both writers, but even they have different interests. As a new resident to the area, Terry wants to use this opportunity to get to know his new town better. Sam has a desire to be a sports writer and wants to learn about the media business. They are both being given the same opportunity, but I know their individual outcomes will be so different.
Finally, the response to our internship program shows that there are still young people who care about newspapers. Unfortunately, its become a common belief that millennials don’t read newspapers and that we’re a dying industry. While the newspaper industry is most definitely evolving, young people aren’t completely disinterested in newspapers. However, for mainly financial reasons, many schools have cut back on their newspaper programs giving those interested young people nowhere to put their efforts to good use. For example, SWIC has yet to publish a single edition of their school newspaper in 2016, giving the few students in their newspaper club nowhere to publish their articles. How can we promote the medium to the next generation if we actively are the one killing it?
I’m proud to make the O’Fallon Weekly available to young people to develop their skills and build their portfolios. And who knows, maybe one day soon Terry, Sam, or any one of the (hopefully) many future interns will be starting their own newspaper in a town that is underserved or not served at all and in need of a community newspaper.