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home : columnists : columnists September 20, 2017

8/26/2017 4:00:00 AM
The Times intern had good summer
The Times photo by Betsy ReasonThe Times newspaper summer college intern Sydney Allen, who enjoyed reporting on an array of Noblesville events, said her favorite place to relax is the Courthouse Square.
The Times photo by Betsy Reason

The Times newspaper summer college intern Sydney Allen, who enjoyed reporting on an array of Noblesville events, said her favorite place to relax is the Courthouse Square.

By Betsy Reason

Every year since I've been working for The Times newspaper, we've had high school or college interns getting their feet wet as reporters.

This summer was no different. College intern Sydney Allen eagerly spent her summer with us, learning about what it's like to be a journalist in the real world.

Granted, we're small, so working at The Times doesn't much resemble the old CBS television series, "Lou Grant," a spinoff of "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" that aired in the late 1970s and early '80s starring Ed Asner as the city editor of the Los Angeles Tribune.

However, each weekly episode saw Grant assigning reporters to cover news stories as well as young reporters turning to Grant for mentorship. In that aspect, working at The Times is similar.

One of the most enjoyable duties about being an editor is the opportunity to shape young reporters into sought-after journalists who will go on to do great things in this world.

I remember when Sydney arrived, and I asked her career goal. She replied, "I want to be a journalist and cover news. I love news....My dream would be the Washington Post, but I would be happy anywhere."

And she was. Or at least, she seemed to be happy covering stories for The Times this summer.

The Park Tudor School graduate, a triplet and a junior at Oberlin College in Ohio, moved back to school on Friday and will begin classes on Monday.

"I'm going to miss this so much. This was the best summer," said Sydney, 20, who sat down and talked to me, before her departure, on the steps of the historic Hamilton County Courthouse Square.

"I couldn't have even predicted a better summer. It was such a great experience. I learned so much. I loved meeting tons of different people in Noblesville. And I loved the people I worked with."

Being a small newspaper, she did get to do a little bit of everything, from taking photos to conducting interviews and writing stories. People in the community saw Sydney out and about often.

Favorite event to cover? "I loved the Strawberry Festival. That was the first story I covered, and I was super nervous....It was fun seeing so many people come out for it, and getting my first taste of reporting in the community."

She wrote about the controversial Nickel Plate Rail line, she was at Indiana State Fair Band Day when Noblesville Marching Millers won, and she covered the Hamilton County 4-H Fair.

"I had never been to a 4-H Fair....It was really cool to get to be able to go every day and see all of the work that the kids put in and see how talented some of them were."

Among Sydney's stories, she wrote an informative article about the Hamilton County Health Department's 50th anniversary, a back-to-school roundup and a preview of State Fair Band Day featuring the Marching Millers and also Sheridan Blackhawks band. She covered the "American Ninja Warrior" television star Kevin Bull visit with Noblesville resident, 7-year-old Chase Givens. She wrote about Navy Week celebration at Noblesville High School and the opening of BlueSky Technology Partners. And she gave readers everything they needed to know about this week's solar eclipse.

"I wanted to give her as much variety to write about as I could to give her an idea what she might see in her first job," said Kevin Thompkins, The Times managing editor, who worked with Sydney the most. Her writing improved throughout the summer, he said.

Thompkins called Sydney "enthusiastic, hardworking and eager to learn." She was "able to cover her assignments above and beyond expectations."

Sydney said, through her internship experience, she "learned to write really quickly." For instance, when she covered the 4-H Fair Queen Pageant on a Friday night, she quickly turned the story around for Saturday publication.

On many occasions, she would conduct multiple interviews during her day and turn in stories for deadline.

"Kevin and everyone who worked with me had high expectations from me of how much content I could produce," she said. "That was a nice challenge."

Sydney was definitely a vital part of our news and feature staff this summer. We are so thankful that she joined us and are already missing her since she walked out the door last weekend.

But before she left Noblesville, I had to ask her a few more questions.

Favorite place to eat? "Culver's."

Favorite place to hang out? "Noble Coffee & Tea," she said, "It's my favorite place to have a chai latte."

Famous person she'd like to interview? (Former U.S. Vice President) "Joe Biden."

Magazine she'd like to be in or on the cover of? "My name to be somewhere in the New Yorker."

Favorite quiet place? "On the steps over here, I thought it was so pretty," Sydney said, smiling, sitting in her favorite spot at the Courthouse Square. "And at the War Memorial, I spent a lot of time there, sitting and winding down."

At college this semester, she's the news editor for the Oberlin Review, a campus newspaper. She's studying English and history.

Sydney came to Noblesville because she wanted to gain experience working for a community newspaper.

She left Noblesville with a better grasp of her future.

But before she departed, I had to re-ask her question.

Her career goal? Was it the same or had it changed?

And she still replied. "I want to write for a newspaper."

-Contact me at betsy@thetimes24-7.com.

Reader Comments

Posted: Sunday, August 27, 2017
Article comment by: William Forkner

Can cotton grow in the North as well as the South? Sure can! My husband has a beautiful plant in our yard and the blooms and bolls are heavy right now. He is so proud of it. Thank you, Patsy Forkner

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