Journalism a field of learning and growth

A typical day in the life of a journalist intern. My pen   and notebook go with me everywhere — you never know where a story idea might be.
A typical day in the life of a journalist intern. My pen and notebook go with me everywhere — you never know where a story idea might be.

By Heather Nelson

I pulled the MoJo mobile up the gravel driveway, not knowing exactly what I was getting into. The little blue house that was situated off a busy street seemed out of place. I walked up the short path to the front door, and was greeted by a kind old man, who looked to be in his 80s.

At the sight of my smiling face, and journalist’s notebook, he smiled, “When you said your name was Heather on the phone, I thought you were my ex-daughter-in-law,” the Ed Annon said.

He waved his hand in the direction of the air-conditioning, something I was thankful for after standing in the 100-degree heat. We slowly walked inside where there were several recliners. His wife, about the same age as him, was in the kitchen preparing lunch.

I took seat in one of the recliners and proceeded to interview the Vietnam veteran about his stolen handcrafted eagle statue. The man was heartbroken and baffled by the theft. Who would do such a thing?

“I don’t know if it was pranksters or people who don’t believe in stuff like this,” Ed said of his eagle statue.

Three weeks later I returned to the Annon’s home. I received an email notifying me a couple found the eagle statue and wished to return it.

Ed welcomed me back into his home. In fact, I think he was happy to see me. He thanked for me helping to return his statue. I am humbled by his appreciation.

****

I’ve learned that my writing has had an effect on people; people can relate to it. But, what I didn’t realize was how much my subjects would teach me or affect me.

Some stories make your heart ache. Some give you hope. Some teach you a lesson. And some give you the privilege of reuniting an 83-year-old veteran with his beloved eagle statue.

I thought all I would do this summer was improve my writing, work on a faster deadline, and challenge myself with a new location. None of these are bad resolutions but I never imagined how much more I still had to learn. I apply everything from the classroom to my assignments.

I’ve misspelled names — thankfully I caught the errors before print. I’ve used cliche. I’ve “held” an event, which I am told is not actually possible.

“You hold babies, not events,” my boss always says.

I’m still learning, but the great thing about this internship is that I’m growing and gaining experience at the same time. And I confirmed that this is what I want to do with my life.

****

I snapped a quick photo of Ed and his statue, thanked him again for his time, and wished him better luck keeping his statue safe.

“Thank you very much, Heather,” Ed said as he leaned in for a hug.

Turns out the hardened veteran was a sweetheart after all. I sure do love my job.

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