OldArchive / The Way I See It

Guest Commentary

What can I say about working at the Rocket-Courier?

It was very enjoyable. I had a wonderful experience that I do not regret. All in all, I am glad I chose to do my internship for Keystone College with Keeler Newspapers.

First of all, it went a lot better than I thought it would.

I went into this thinking that I would have to become a rude, nosey reporter, like you see in the movies, barging in on whomever I needed to talk to get the scoop.

Boy, was I wrong. Now I see how mass media can leave a lasting impression of misconceptions on our young generation, even young adults such as myself.

While trying to "get the scoop," I tried to be as polite and understanding as possible. It just is not in my nature to be rude.

For example, I was sent to cover a tractor-trailer accident on Route 6 near Laceyville. When I finally got the chance and the guts to ask the truck driver if I could ask him a few questions, I told him up front that he did not have to answer anything if he didn't want to. Well, he did not, and I left it at that. "No comment" means exactly that. I learned that day that you do not have to be rude to be a reporter, just curious and understanding.

Secondly, the people I worked with at the Rocket office were great. "Folks is folks," as they say, and they are not any different than anyone else I ever met.

They are nice people. They like to laugh and are willing to help a young college student learn what he/she needs to learn. Dave Keeler, Wes Skillings and Pete Hardenstine were my writing advisors. They were a lot nicer about correcting my pieces than I thought they would be.

Again, the movie experience of seeing J. Jonah Jameson from Spider-Man ran through my head, "Crap, crap, mega crap!" said he when looking at Peter Parker's photos. That is what I was afraid of—destructive criticism.

As a creative writer and self-proclaimed poet, I am not used to constructive criticism. I sometimes get pretty upset when someone says they think my writing needs work.

I understood that I would have to undergo criticism, because I had never written a news story before this. Dave, Wes and Pete more or less HAD to show me the ropes. Sometimes my stories were too wordy or long, so they would shorten it.

The first big story I had to do was on the Relay for Life in Wyalusing. I went to the meeting and gathered as much information as I could. I even bought a voice recorder for it.

My interview with Jan Bouse-Stoddard was so touching that I almost cried. I still have it on tape and intend to keep it.

I think I became too attached by the time I finished writing the story, because I treated it more like a column.

I used the word "I" a couple of times. I did not know you couldn't do that in a news story. Well, I kind of did, but I wanted to see if I could get away with it.

Pete caught it. I did not want him to read through the article because I knew he would take out my personal feelings.

After he went over the article with me, I felt more than disheartened, more like torn apart.

It needed to be done, though. If every journalist told the reader what he or she thought about every article they wrote, the reader would have a migraine by the time they were through reading the paper.

Wes had me drive to Towanda every Tuesday to get the magistrate reports, deeds and marriage licenses.

Every intern has to do some sort of busy work no matter what the internship is. Call me "Go-for," as in "go for this, go for that."

Also, Wes had me write the police briefs and sometimes the magistrate reports. This helped me immensely with my organizational skills as a writer. After a few weeks of writing police briefs, I said to Nancy Keeler, whom I shared an office with, "Either I'm getting faster with these police reports, or I don't care about them. Hopefully it's the first one."

Thirdly, meeting some of the people I did during assignments was so neat.

I met a Japanese girl working at the Good Grief Day Camp, a doctor from China, a doctor from Africa at the laboratory in Laceyville and some really pleasant people from right here in the county. I just hope that the people I met thought it was also a delight to meet me.

All in all, I'm glad I was able to experience working for a newspaper.

It helped me to banish the stereotypes I have formed, helped to be more organized and to-the-point with my writing and helped to make me realize that doing research for my papers, articles and other writings is not so bad after all.

I would like to thank the staff of the Rocket-Courier for their hospitality, the people I met on assignments for bearing with my naive questioning and the readers for reading my articles.

My fiance? describes my feeling for working at the Rocket-Courier best by smiling and saying to me, "You like it."

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