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Boyle native returns to newsroom as KPA summer intern

Casey Craiger, a Boyle County native and rising sophomore at Eastern Kentucky University, has joined The Advocate-Messenger as a Kentucky Press Association intern for the summer.

However, Craiger isn’t new to The Advocate’s newsroom. Readers may have seen her bylines in last year’s Great American Brass Band Festival magazine, as well as in the annual Milestones publication, and several other stories about her piano teacher, fireworks safety and the Great American Balloon Race last year — which is her favorite story she’s written for the newspaper so far.

Editor Ben Kleppinger said he was very excited when he saw Craiger had applied for the KPA internship “because she is from Boyle County and has already done excellent work freelancing for us.”

Craiger said she wants to further develop her writing skills, which she considers to be the core of anything else in life she may want to pursue.

“I’m not here to hone my math skills,” she said laughing. “I want to learn how the newspaper works,”

That includes how assignments are developed and how advertising works in the newspaper, she said.

Talking with Craiger, one would think she is much older than her 19 years. And her self-confidence and no-nonsense style is reflected in her writing preference.

“I like to write about hard things. I want to make people feel things.”

Craiger said she wants to write community stories that will have an impact on her readers “even if it’s small.”

Craiger will be working 40 hours a week —  quite a bit more than her 80 minutes a day when she first sat in the newsroom when she was 16 as part of a work-study program the high school offered.

At EKU, she’s currently working on three majors at one time — film, journalism and law. She said even though she’s a second-year student at EKU, she is really a junior because of the amount of credit hours she has earned. Craiger was able to accomplish this by attending high school full-time and taking night classes at EKU’s former Danville campus.

Studying law is a “plan B” for her career.  

Plan A is to continue writing and do “something fun,” like working in social media, developing a podcast or even being a small-time director. 

“I want to do something that seems outrageous, but it’s doable,” she said. “I want to seize as many opportunities as I can while I’m young.”

“The KPA internship is a great for college students like Casey to gain real world experience and get a good sense of what it’s like in the newsroom,” Kleppinger said. “She will write lots of stories and work very hard, and I know she’ll love every minute of it.”