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My work as an intern writer at the Bedford Bulletin over the past several weeks has given me a new perspective for the future.
Having participated in my college’s graduation ceremony in May, I came to the Bulletin on a last-minute whim to fulfill an outstanding three-credit internship requirement to officially finish my undergraduate work. As a communications major, I had previously participated in my school’s newspaper in both the news and editorial departments, work which helped me understand the semantics of writing style and publication.
However, my time there felt impersonal, as I was just one of many reporters under continual pressure to meet the next deadline. That fact, coupled with the current declining state of newspapers nationwide, caused me to decide in my junior year that I didn’t want to pursue employment in the journalism field. As such, I came to the Bulletin with a passive attitude, intending to work diligently, but believing the experience would simply be a short stop on the road to elsewhere.
How pleasantly surprised I was that my time working here developed into something much more meaningful.
When I first heard of the opportunity here, I anticipated my duties would consist primarily of mundane tasks (making copies, editing copy, etc.). Unexpectedly, on my first day I was immediately put to work conducting interviews, and have been consistently challenged ever since. Although my assignments have included some grunt work, my contributions as a writer have been equally valued and encouraged. As a reporter, it’s difficult to express the sense of accomplishment one feels every Wednesday (publication day) — the pride of seeing your name in print as you get your hands dirty bundling fresh copies of the newspaper in the mail room for distribution.
It’s small touches such as these which I’ve come to appreciate here at the Bulletin; the hustle and bustle of the newsroom gives this place its personality: the playful banter of the Advertising Department; the constant “tick-tack” of Circulation Manager Deb Dooley’s ancient printer, the crackling static of the police band radio as everyone remains alert for breaking news. The departments are always working on something different, but their efforts feel like a collaboration toward a greater goal.
It is these people, who constitute some of the most knowledgeable, self-motivated individuals I have ever met, who truly breathe life into the Bulletin: News Writer John Barnhart, with his congenial nature and reflective narratives about the area’s rich history; Sports Writer Mike Forster, with his quick wit and sage advice; and of course, studious Editor Tom Wilmoth, whose quiet reserve belies his intense dedication to his work, as he sacrifices sleep and his weekends to ensure the paper’s survival. The Bulletin staff are all passionate about their work, and I admire their resolve to keeping this small-town publication going.
But perhaps my greatest joy at the Bulletin has been derived from my time spent interacting with people. In every piece that I covered, each person has been so kind and humble, simply grateful that I would want to hear their story. Bedford contains a variety of interesting individuals, and I feel privileged to have been able to record their lives and make them feel part of something bigger.
As I look to the future, and finally getting my diploma, I can say that this internship has exceeded my expectations. Although my career aspirations are taking me in another direction, (public relations), my time here has renewed my interest in the written word, and, more importantly, the sense of community.
I want to say thank you to everyone, both here in the newsroom and in Bedford, who has contributed to this rewarding experience. Although print journalism may be fading, its heart and soul lives on at the Bedford Bulletin.