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Summer internship at EAGLE has been a blast

allen brewerWorking as an intern for the Oxford EAGLE has really made this summer worthwhile. With school just around the corner, I am forced to say goodbye to the staff. Though it’s ciao for now, the experience I’ve had will last a lifetime.   

Before I started my internship I was a little nervous about working at a large publication. Like the interns on television, I expected to spend my summer getting coffee and running errands around town.

When I was told I would get to write actual articles I was amazed and a bit intimidated.

I write for my college newspaper, The Ranger Rocket at Northwest Mississippi Community College, but I wasn’t sure how to carry that knowledge to a professional level. The other reporters helped start me off with story ideas, then I would contact the people involved to get information.

Later in the day, usually after lunch, I would compile all the facts into an article and send it in to be edited.

The first story I wrote was about a girl who had written a letter to a soldier in Iraq. After three years of waiting, she received a message that the soldier finally got her letter and wanted to thank her for her kind words and lovely drawing.

The girl’s family was very helpful in answering my questions and I was even able to contact the soldier for quotes. To make things even better, the story was picked up by the Associated Press that wanted to share the story to other newspapers across the state. I felt I had really helped someone, which really encouraged me to write more.

Not only have I been able to gain lots of experience in writing, I was also able to become more active in my community.

I received a request from a lady that her former neighbor wanted to have her 102nd birthday put in the paper.

When I met the lady in Water Valley, I found out she once lived near me and knew my grandparents. We had a few laughs and had a long talk about how our small community has changed over the years.

I was able to write several features over my four-month internship and cover a couple of big events. I have interviewed local artists, community gardeners, a new restaurant owner, student web programmers, watermelon farmers and skateboarders.

I was also able to meet local celebrities for a Make-A-Wish fundraiser, and police officers at a McDonald ice cream luncheon.

One thing I learned this summer that I hope to carry on to my other jobs, is how to really talk to people. Everyone has a story, and it’s my job as a journalist to find out what it is. It can be daunting to walk up to a stranger and ask them a question, but if you don’t speak to them, how will you be able to get their side of the story?

Though my internship is over, I hope to carry the knowledge I acquired to my next job. Hopefully, this won’t be my last time writing for the paper as I plan to keep writing my column for Oxford Living. It has been a pleasure working with the staff and the people of Oxford.

Allen Brewer is a former Oxford EAGLE intern and a NWMCC student. You can reach him at allengbrewer@yahoo.com