MANSFIELD-- Experience in the field of journalism is the most important part of becoming a reputable source for spreading the news for any media source.
Richland Source has employed two summer interns, Samantha Peko and Rylan Lee, giving them not only the opportunity to gain journalistic experience, but also allowing them a peek into the future of journalism, as they put it.
Peko is a graduate student at Ohio University studying the history of journalism and has been accepted into the PhD program at the school. She's hoping to become a professor and said she is enjoying learning about the history while putting practical experience to work.
“I thought (working for the Source) was a good opportunity. It provides me with work experience, and I think it is interesting, too, this is an online platform," Peko said. "A lot of times in grad school we are doing research about how print media is out and how it is transitioning. So I thought this would be a good opportunity to see how the transition is happening and work for an online organization.”
Lee echoed similar opinions, adding she is excited to have the opportunity to continue writing in a professional manner.
“It’s just a fantastic opportunity,” Lee said. “I didn’t think I was going to get it because I am not a journalism major, and I am really young. But when I got it, I couldn’t deny the opportunity to write stories and not just be a person getting coffee for people.”
Lee worked for her high school’s paper, the Phoenix, at Thomas Worthington High School in Worthington. She now blogs for the Admissions Blog at The Ohio State University, where she is a sophomore.
Each intern has been with Richland Source since summer started and has written numerous stories.
“I like reporting because I’m very shy,” Peko said. “It makes it so you have to be in the thick of everything. You have to talk to people. You go to events all the time. (Reporting) is really nice because it allows me to open up.”
Lee said she enjoys reporting because she gets to meet people and tell their story.
“I love finding the story in everything I’m writing,” she said. “Everything is a story, but not everything is a given story. I wrote a piece on a foster kid who went to Washington, D.C. and that’s a story, sure, but there was an underlying theme with him about how the arts helped get him through everything. I like digging that out.”
Richland Source Managing Editor Larry Phillips said the skills and attitude both interns bring with each story are outstanding, and the source is lucky to have them.
"We've had fantastic luck with our interns. Both of them have turned excellent stories about the community and have gone above and beyond the call in volunteering during our Final Fridays efforts for Downtown Mansfield Inc.," Phillips said. "We can recommend both of them wholeheartedly. They have outstanding attitudes and skills to match.
"Rylan answered our call to neighboring universities in a big way. She arrives all the way from Columbus after graduating from Worthington and attending Ohio State's main campus. She's got a great attitude and a bright future."
Peko, an English major, and Lee, studying English currently, have both said the experience of writing for this organization has helped them focus on what they enjoy while allowing them to find a professional outlet to do so. Peko is also a reporter for the Athens News, a bi-weekly newspaper.
"Samantha had a local connection, living in the area for the summer, and had the gumption to contact us looking for an opportunity. She's an Ohio University student who is contemplating a future in teaching," Phillips said. "I've advised her she writes too well for that foolishness."
Both interns said they were excited to be with the Richland Source for the summer because of the skills reporting demands and helps to polish.
“It certainly pushes you to have adept writing skills — something you can transfer to any field,” Lee said. “But when I went into college I was dead set on being a writing teacher, but as I was in college, I thought about all the different things I could do with my major. This internship has really made me consider ‘maybe journalism is what I want.’”