August 2, 2017 Edition

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Summer job at The
TD offers perspective

Aubree Hughart
TD Intern

As the spring semester was drawing to a close at Arkansas State University, I was busy cramming for finals in the library when my phone rang. It was John Bland.

I stepped outside of the library to call him back. He shared with me some exciting news: The Times Dispatch had received a matching grant from the Arkansas Newspaper Foundation and he wanted to know if I was interested in the position.

Although quitting my job in Jonesboro and relocating back to Walnut Ridge for the summer was a big step, I was excited about the new adventure. I've been interested in the newspaper industry since I had the opportunity to be the editor of The Cats Dispatch in high school, and I've had a passion for writing for as long as I can remember.

Finals came to an end, I got my wisdom teeth cut out and the next week, I made myself at home in the back corner of the office at my very own desk. To say I felt like a 'grown-up' is an understatement.

As my first assignments began to roll in, I realized that there was a lot more behind the scene work going on at The TD than I ever realized.

My main job has been to write and report, along with the occasional photography assignment. So, I do what most people think of when they think about someone working at a newspaper. However, there is so much more than that going on here.

There's Shantelle, who can design any advertisement in any size for any customer. Her sass and sense of humor always brings us some amusement in the office.

Then there's Tammy at the front desk, who always smiles and says good morning to every single person who walks in the front door. Janice sits next to her and does our accounting work, and she's always just happy to be here. She even came in during her vacation to help out, which not many people would do.

Nathan runs the print station. I had no idea how many things get printed at The TD every week. From restaurant menus to graduation programs to business cards, he can do it all.

Ken and Shirley come in twice a week to help us with ad inserts and paper distribution, and we love getting to catch them up on everything that's been going on. They're the sweetest couple and the hardest workers too, and bring an extra bit of sunshine to the office on those days.

The sister duo, Gretchen and Megan, make sure the paper comes together every week. Their banter and funny family stories make slow days go by faster. They're also always happy to explain something to me or help me out with any of my assignments, which is a lifesaver.

Mrs. Renee sits in the back corner with me. She comes in to proofread twice a week, and she can spot any mistake. I'm also convinced she knows everyone in town and the correct way to spell their name.

Finally, there's Mr. Bland, who is technically my boss but feels like more of a mentor at this point. Mr. Bland has given me opportunities to write for the paper throughout the years and the assignments he has given me this summer have not only helped me develop my writing skills but have also given me the opportunity to network in town and explore my passions.

When Mr. Bland called and offered me the internship, I was excited but also nervous about whether I would be any good at this job or whether it would be worth the move back to Walnut Ridge.

As the summer is drawing to a close, I can honestly say it has been one of the greatest job experiences I have ever had. I am glad I got to work with my coworkers in the office, help deliver news to the community and get to know my hometown a little better.

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