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Opinion: Reflections of a Ledger-Transcript intern

  • Daisy Young Courtesy photo—



Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Tuesday, January 29, 2019 3:47PM

I’ve always known I wanted to write. When I look back at my second-grade notebook, I see some of my best work. This is because the things I was writing were grabbed solely from my imagination. My own mind, experiences, memories, and feelings.

This is the kind of writing that I thrive with – no rules, no mandatory quotes, or MLA citations. I wrote about my pets and turned them into magical creatures. I wrote about my family and friends and turned them into kings and queens.

Flash forward to my sophomore year at ConVal, when I began writing poetry. I took all of my emotional, confusing thoughts that I had repressed for years, and wrote them down. I wrote poems about my family, fears, love, loss- everything that confused me and worried me. And I got praised for it.

Although I enjoyed artistic writing, I wasn’t sure if it was the thing I wanted to study in college and pursue as a career. I knew there were other types of writing I hadn’t yet explored. This is why I decided to take an internship at the Monadnock Ledger-Transcript.

Being a journalist at the Ledger-Transcript has opened my eyes to a whole new world of writing. One where the story you are telling isn’t from imagination or memory, but from those who deserve a voice. I was no longer writing for me, I was writing for others.

The stories I wrote, however, were generally about things I was involved in or had some connection to. I wrote about ConVal High School news, ConVal’s art department, and the Cornucopia Project. There were times, of course, where Ben Conant (Ledger-Transcript editor and my on-site mentor) would assign me a story that I would embark on.

One of the first stories I took on was a“Man on the Street”. This kind of story involves walking up to random locals, asking them all one question, pulling a quote, and taking their photo. My first Man on the Street was “Why do you think it’s important to vote?”

This assignment was one that taught me the most, but at the same time challenged me the most. It didn’t sound bad, but once I started walking up to a stranger, I realized I was nervous. This experience taught me how to be a better people person, how to make other trust your presence and want to talk with you.

With each story I sent in, the more informed and comfortable I became with the editing process. When I wrote things for the paper prior to my internship, I took the editorial cuts close to heart. By hearing Ben tell me the specific reasons he felt something needed to be added or removed, I realized that every change had an importance.

Besides teaching me writing and communication skills that I will continue to benefit from, the Ledger-Transcript also became a fun, comfortable environment. The reporters all sit at a rectangle collection of tables, with newspaper clippings, desktops, books, and notes scattered about. On Mondays and Wednesdays, the reporters can be seen working hard to meet deadlines. The working sounds of clicking keyboards and telephone rings are only occasionally broken by a joke or comment, and the laughter that follows.

These days were some of the most memorable. Everybody was in the office to write and make follow-up calls, and the atmosphere was playful and friendly. I had resourceful people who were eager to give advice if I encountered a problem while writing, or if I needed an idea for a story.

I had a jumpstart on the news before it was revealed in print. I saw my stories being printed and sent out to sixteen different towns. This feeling gave me a rush.

I liked this new world, and I liked what it taught me. Being a journalist during my senior year taught me how to write unbiased writing and still get the truth to the public. The internship taught me how to communicate better, how to appreciate constructive criticism, and how it’s important to explore the unknown.

Going into college this August, I’m struggling to pick a major. I know that I want to write, but whether that’s articles, novels, or poems - I’m just unsure. But I needed this internship to show me what I hadn’t experienced. It provided me with a model of what my career could look like. And although it wasn’t make or break on my degree choice, it certainly has provided a heavy influence.

 

Daisy Young is a senior at ConVal High School who just completed an internship at the Ledger-Transcript.