Looking back, moving forward

By Madison Hakey | Outgoing Outwater Intern

As I flip through the weathering pages of the last 11 issues of The Charlotte News, I grin at the memories popping into my head. The last six months of my life take shape in photographs, articles and names. Each page reminds me of a struggle worked through, a realization had or a joke that shook the office with laughter. I sit smiling like a fool on my bedroom floor, sorting through the work of my past that has led to my future.

I came to The News knowing absolutely nothing about Charlotte and next to nothing about journalism. On the first day of my Outwater Internship, I sat next to Edd Merritt and proofread with him, immediately falling in love with the work. Looking back on the person who sat there, I can say with confidence that I have changed for the better.

During my six months at The News, I learned all about journalism and what it takes to work in the field. I explored each aspect of the newspaper thoroughly and experimented with my own writing. To say that all I gained was a new understanding of journalism would be an understatement. I have a new understanding of myself, the community I have grown up in, the world I am about to enter and the career path I want to follow.

It never occurred to me that my love for the written word would turn into a job until about halfway through my internship. An ah-ha moment sent me reeling into an entirely new perspective on my future. If I enjoyed my time with The News so much, why should I stop there?

From that moment on, I fell into a frenzy of interviews, new ideas, photography and writing. I found a new excitement for college and started saying, “I’m going to major in journalism.” I chose the University of Denver for its strong English program, which offers an array of majors, including journalism. I started asking questions all the time, of anyone anywhere, and embraced the world with curious eyes and pen in hand.

Having a pen and being curious is not all it takes to be a journalist, however. This was one of my first lessons during my internship. It takes confidence and an open mind. It requires a great deal of patience and compassion. Most important, great journalists are extremely persistent in everything they do.

These skills were essential for my success at The News. As I have just begun my career as a journalist, I am still working to have all of these wonderful characteristics. Even though I am extremely happy to have improved my writing, my personal growth is what I am most pleased with.

Sitting and pondering all I have accomplished and the opportunities I have had with The News, I am left with one thought: Thank you. I am eternally grateful to the welcoming and supportive staff at The Charlotte News for all they have done for me. From the first day with Edd to the last day with Alex, I enjoyed every minute of my internship and couldn’t be more thrilled with the person I see in the mirror and the work I see in the paper. Here’s to the next intern! Best of luck.