Internships provide skills needed for the workplace, school

My last paycheck came in the mail today.

I knew my days as an intern at the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel were over when I said my goodbyes over a week ago… Now, I feel there’s closure on my chapter as a summer intern.

***

I walked out the heavy, blue door with thoughts swirling around in my head. Did I leave the building for the last time? Did I make lasting impressions during my two months in Junction?

I could only answer “yes” to both because I continue to aspire for more.

My supervisor left me with kind words, and promised me a Letter of Recommendation. (She even offered to have me come back as an intern next summer. This happened in a later email exchange).

My time at the Daily Sentinel seemed too short. I’d like to think that’s because I kept myself busy with stories while adventuring Western Colorado’s beauty…

My first story, when I attended an Emergency Medical Services Week BBQ, taught me to turn stories quickly and efficiently. My first story being published was just an incentive and a confidence-booster.

My last story helped local petitioners get the word out. The petitioners, who were skaters from around the area, started a petition for new (or to revamp current) skateparks in Grand Junction.

I spent more time on my last story. I didn’t have writer’s block; I was sad that my internship was ending. When I finally turned the story in, my supervisor was pleased with my final article.

***

I cannot thank my supervisor enough for giving me the opportunity to intern in Grand Junction.

I grew as a person because I forced myself into a new environment. I learned to create conversation with strangers. I learned to maneuver a new city (even though Junction is actually pretty easy to navigate).

I learned to check the spelling of every name. Three times. And check it again. I learned to research before interviewing my subjects. I learned to work in a newsroom environment, which is quite fun, actually. There’s always food….

I loved my time at the Daily Sentinel. I feel better prepared as a journalism student. I will continue to apply things I learned in the newsroom to my school-life. I will keep improving my writing and editing skills.

Writing is my passion. This is the most important thing I have learned.

I’ll end with a quote from my favorite author growing up because he depicts my feelings before I departed for a new town:

If we wait until we’re ready, we’ll be waiting for the rest of our lives.” — Lemony Snicket, The Ersatz Elevator

Summer, where did you go?

By Heather Nelson

Blink. Two weeks have gone by.

The holiday weekend ruined my journalistic efforts. My boss was out of the office — unplugged — for two weeks. One could say I was a bit helpless.

First, there were no fireworks stands in Grand Junction. I blame that on the fire ban. I took my vacation early.

When I came back to the office, news had extended its vacation. I blame that on Grand Junction.

I developed a few stories, and kept some for desperate days.

That week, I became distracted by a visitor — my boyfriend — that came to venture Junction. Somehow, I was able to work through distraction. I met a stellar lady, who started a wonderful organization.

I enjoyed driving the Colorado National Monument with my boyfriend. Here I am at Fallen Rock Overlook. Colorado has treated me to wonderful views.
I enjoyed driving the Colorado National Monument with my boyfriend. Here I am at Fallen Rock Overlook. Colorado treated me to wonderful views.

Then, the fair came to Mesa County. I spent three days creating a video for the web. I spoke with a wolf “trainer.” I waved to the wolves. It was humid in Grand Junction. That was a first…

And here, I am in my final week of my internship.

Blink. Two months have gone by.

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.

Interning provides benefits beyond compensation

By Heather Nelson

7 a.m. my alarm jolted me awake. I wiped my eyes and glanced at the clock beside my bed to double-check the time. Yep, it was 7 a.m. I rolled myself out of the bed and proceeded with my day: daily prayer, a couple cups of coffee, scheduled interviews, wrote an article…

All this seemed to be a normal day in the life of an intern. I hardly moved — I was hard at work on another story.

Within an hour, I posted the story online and emailed my boss to let her know of my progress.

Then, my day changed for the better. I received a text from a friend I made while working on an assignment. He said he read my article in the paper. At this, I was surprised. Last week, I spoke with my boss about the process for printing my assignments. She said that if space was available and my writing was superb, I may have a chance to appear in the paper.

Basically, at this point I never dreamed of being a published (print) journalist. Woah.

Then, I received the email from my boss. It was something along the lines of  “your flag article appeared in the paper… I think the medallion one as well. Make sure to pick them up!”

I was surprised. Two articles in Monday’s paper? No…

How could this get better? The next email from my boss:

“Oh, and one more cool thing, the Associated Press picked up your flag story, too. They basically paraphrase and condense it a lot, but it means that any newspaper or other Associated Press subscriber can print it. It’s kind of cool in that if you wait a few days and Google the story, you may find it was printed all over the nation. I always love when this happens to me.”

Me: NO FREAKING WAY.  

I never imagined to love this internship as much as I do. I have learned so much from my boss, from my sources, from my co-workers.

The motivation and confidence-boost I received today was unbelievable. I am so thankful to be able to do what I do. There is nothing better than sharing people’s stories.

In light of my motivation, I bought the domain name for this website and updated/organized the site. I hope this makes it more enjoyable for you to read and follow my work.

As they say, a little encouragement goes a long way. And that’s all I needed today.

Under the “News” section, you will find all my work from my semester in J415. Under “The Rookie” tab, you will find links to all the stories I write this summer as an intern at the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel.

**Coming soon** I will be adding a tab for the past work I have done including J304 and for the Odyssey.

Again, thanks for your continued support.

Interning in Grand Junction

By Heather Nelson

This summer I will be interning for the Daily Sentinel in Grand Junction, Colo. I will post links to my stories on WordPress, but because of copyright I cannot post the full articles/photos/videos on the site. Here’s the link to my first assignment as an intern that was published in Thursday May 23 paper!

http://www.gjsentinel.com/news/articles/emergency-responders-rewarded-for-saving-lives

Follow me on Twitter: https://twitter.com/heatherahh19