8/17/2007 2:52:00 PM Guest column Intern expands her horizons with Daily News gig
Kristina chats with one of the regulars at the Moonshine Store. (Daily News photo)
By KRISTINA PETERS For the Daily News
I wasn't sure what to expect this summer. After all, I was entering a town I wasn't familiar with, and I was starting my second newspaper internship.
But my expectations were met while interning at the Daily News; I was expecting to learn a lot, and I did. From taking photos to designing a few front pages, I had the opportunity to expand my horizons as a journalist.
I am grateful to the staff of the paper, as well as the community, for providing help to me in every way possible, and I cannot stress that enough. There were times when I felt that I wasn't just the intern, but a regular member of the Daily News staff, as I took photos, wrote articles and designed pages. Of course I had questions at times; I wasn't accustomed to photography or designing. But someone was always nearby to guide me if I needed it.
As for the community, I have never seen a county as welcoming as Crawford County. Everyone was willing to work with me as I gathered information for articles, or even the police beat. I admired how friendly the people are, and I was glad to get to know those that I had the pleasure of meeting.
Two things I experienced this summer that I will never forget are the Crawford County Fair and the news staff's annual trip to Moonshine. The fair was such a joy for me. In the past I have written stories about the cows and pigs at fairs, but this time I was taking photos of them, too. Seeing the fair through the eyes of a photographer made me appreciate that part of journalism all the more. Getting that great shot isn't easy, and I understand that now more than ever. The pigs were constantly running around, and the cows might not always be looking towards the camera - and that goes the same for those showing their animals. A majority of my fair pictures may not have been great, but I sure was proud of the few that made their way into the paper.
Throughout the summer, I was told many times about the Moonshine store from the staff at the Daily News. I finally got the opportunity to visit, and I am so glad I did. Before my internship I had never heard of it before, and I was surprised by what I found. It amazed me to know that store's renowned burgers were served for a few short hours, and that this tiny restaurant attracted so many people. I even had the opportunity to chat with a regular - a retired famer who makes the trip to Moonshine about once a week. After eating there I now understand why it draws such a crowd: it's the atmosphere, from the original tin ceiling to the benches outside.
It was an unforgettable place, and it concluded an unforgettable internship.
Kristina Peters is a junior journalism major at Eastern Illinois University. She interned last summer at the Mattoon Journal-Gazette, and will continue her work on the Daily Eastern News staff this fall. She lives in Mattoon.