‘Love for a community’ Intern reflects on her summer working at Danville newspaper

Published 6:06 am Saturday, July 21, 2018

When Executive Editor Ben Kleppinger called me to say I had been selected to be The Advocate-Messenger’s Kentucky Press Association intern this summer, I was walking to my dorm from my jazz history class at Eastern Kentucky University.

Being inexperienced lifewise, my initial excitements about my first job were surface level. I detailed to my friends at college how excited I was to start drinking coffee and maybe even have my own desk. Little did I know there were more than lattes and rolling chairs in store for me at The Advocate-Messenger.

I gained many technical skills. During my time I was taught how to use Photoshop, a DSLR camera and numerous content creating and mapping websites such as Trello, Evernote and WordPress. It was fascinating to not only see how content is created, but be given the opportunity to create my own. I was able to learn and see how many individual parts are taken and pieced together to create the newspaper.

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I feel as though my communication skills have improved greatly. As a person who is generally extroverted, I expected to not struggle talking to people throughout my internship. However, I quickly found that asking a stranger in my film class for homework help is not comparable to asking a police officer for information at the scene of a car accident. This internship thrust me into uncomfortable atmospheres and required me to adapt quickly given the circumstances.

Though I gained knowledge and experience during my internship, I came away with much more: a love for my community. What I value more than anything is the life experiences and stories of the people I was given the opportunity to write about. I was born and raised in Danville, and this internship has given me an appreciation for my hometown and the people in it.

I felt prior to my start at The Advocate-Messenger that I was conscious of the city’s happenings. I had attended the highly publicized Great American Brass Band Festival, Great American Balloon Race and the Boyle County Fair. While great events, during my internship I realized that there was so much more to Danville and its surrounding communities.

I’ve spoken with commissioners, police officers, farmers, artists and people of many different professions. I found the most beautiful things are the smaller, behind-the-scenes moments. This week, I got to witness the joy of a little boy running up to his grandfather after he found a crawdad in the creek at the Central Kentucky Wildlife Refuge. Earlier in my internship, I met a woman who has farmed for 50 years, whose cow gave birth to triplets. I also had the opportunity to meet a well-loved mechanic in the Danville community who worked a paper route for The Advocate-Messenger when he was 14. These are just a few of many examples.

The most passion and joy I experienced however, occurred a few feet from my desk. Every day, I was given the opportunity to view the staff at The Advocate-Messenger’s love for the community that they serve. The staff took me in as though I was a part of their family, and through my experiences, I found belonging and love for a community I had been a part of for much longer — Danville.

In a few short weeks, I’ll be returning to Eastern Kentucky University to continue my participation in the Broadcasting and Electronic Media program. I am working toward degrees in both film and journalism, as well as a certificate in law. After completing college, I plan to work for a traveling podcast network such as No Jumper, Old Row, Barstool Sports or Kentucky Sports Radio.

Although my future endeavors may take me far away from Danville and the newsroom, The Advocate-Messenger and the city it resides in will always have a special place in my heart.

Casey Craiger is a Boyle County High School graduate and served for 10 weeks as The Advocate-Messenger’s 2018 Kentucky Press Association Intern this summer.