‘I know I am in the right field’

Published 8:45pm Thursday, August 1, 2013

By Sarah Mahan

Mahan is a journalism student at the University of Alabama and intern with the Selma Times-Journal


I began this internship with one year of only my most basic college classes completed, and I honestly did not believe anything I wrote this summer would go to print, even after my editor said I would be considered a staff reporter. As I write this on my last day, my clip file now contains more than 40 articles.

I only knew the basics of writing for a newspaper when I walked into the newsroom on my first day. Now I am far from an expert, but this internship has given me a solid foundation from which I can continue to learn.

Although I am originally from Selma, the past three months have given me the opportunity to become even more involved in the community. I have met local business owners, political leaders and law enforcement. In the midst of writing preview pieces for barbecue fundraisers and other community events, I was given the opportunity to cover the remodeling of historic buildings and the legitimacy of a city council decision.

Over the course of my time working for my local newspaper, I have learned how to do many of the mundane, necessary tasks it takes to produce a newspaper: designing pages in the newspaper, updating the community calendar and typing police reports.

Most importantly, I learned many things that cannot truly be taught in a classroom: how journalists are able to step into people’s lives in order to share stories with the public, the demands of working in the newsroom of a community newspaper and even how to re-word interview questions in hopes of receiving more descriptive answers.

I appreciate all the time The Selma Times-Journal has invested in me this summer, and everything I have learned gives me the confidence to return to school this fall knowing I am perusing a degree in something I enjoy.

Occasionally I receive funny looks when tell people I am a journalism major, but now I am confident in my decision.

I believe that is the most important information this internship has given me: The answer to whether I am in the field of study that best suites me. Thanks to this internship, I can honestly say, my answer is yes.

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