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Internship Profile: Gracy Howard

February 1st, 2011

First-person narrative by Gracy Howard

CONTACT:  David Halbrook
Patrick Henry College
(540) 441-8722
OfficeOfCommunications@phc.edu

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Sophomore Gracy Howard serving as a model for a tailgating article the Idaho Press Tibune ran in their magazine, Today's Woman

When I applied for an internship with the Idaho Press Tribune this past summer, I wasn't sure what to expect. Most newspaper interns I talked to complained about how boring internships were—they made coffee and copied papers all summer. Few journalism interns told me they got a lot of writing assignments. I feared a summer full of coffee makers, fax machines, and tedious phone calls.

But after twelve weeks working at the Idaho Press Tribune, I can say that my experience there was one of my best memories of the summer.

I had just finished my freshman year at Patrick Henry College. I had no experience with a newspaper—in fact, I had not written a news story before arriving at PHC my freshman year. For that reason, the opportunity to write in a real newsroom and learn from professional writers was extremely appealing.

When I arrived at the paper, my supervisor, Kendel Murrant, gave me several small story assignments right away. On my second day in the newsroom, I got my first real story. Within the next two weeks, I got to cover an event, help compile columns, write a dining review, proof the newspaper, write more stories and benefit from Kendel's wise writing advice.

Throughout my internship, I was able to write for several different newspaper “beats,” covering community stories, business profiles, and human interest stories. There were dining reviews, 3G reviews, obituaries, and DUI reports to write—and I loved every assignment.

One of my best memories was writing a story about Becky Page, a young woman with an infectious smile and obvious love for God. She had always wanted to go to college, like her brothers and sisters. But college is not an easy prospect for someone with Down’s Syndrome. However, through her persistence, she helped a local community college start a program called iDream, designed specifically for people with developmental disabilities.

During my time at the Press Tribune, I also got to interview a delegation of judges and lawyers from Tajikistan, a martial arts reality show contestant, a teacher travelling around the world in 80 days, and a businessman who fights human trafficking with his coffee business.

Several weeks into my internship, the paper accepted another intern named Haley. On her last day at the paper, I shared my faith with Haley over lunch. She was very receptive, and asked me several questions about my faith. At the end of our lunch, she had not accepted Christ, but she was thinking seriously about all I had said. I was thankful for the opportunity to share with her.

After 12 weeks sitting at my desk in the busy newsroom, writing on my Mac computer, listening to the police scanner and the sarcastic banter between reporters, it was very hard to leave. But I couldn’t wait to return to school and tell all my friends about how amazing my internship was, and all my fun experiences with the Press Tribune.

And I didn't have to make one pot of coffee.