I want to say a few words in praise of interns.

Internships give people the opportunity to work in a "real world" setting for a limited amount of time. It helps a person, especially a young person, decide if they truly want to go into a certain line of work.

It also gives a company the opportunity to share their expertise with an intern or interns. It is not supposed to be a way to get free or low-cost help but if an intern is dedicated, he or she will benefit the company during the internship.

I have had various interns over the years. Some did better than others but most were very good and had determined they would work to make the internship successful. This summer, I have three of the best interns. They are (in no particular order) Tiffany Watt, Jessika Zachary and Noel Marquis.

I did not know what to expect from them and so kept my expectations low and I was determined to keep my patience level high. Working with people much younger than yourself tends to grow patience. You hope they will be patient with "the old guy," too. Then you have interns younger than even your fellow employees. Patience and hope are even greater commodities.

But all three of our interns this summer are doing exceptionally well.

I met Tiffany when she was a senior at Southmont. She was on the yearbook staff and learned we would be glad to take her under our collective wings at The Paper. She did well. I remember the first assignment I gave her. It was a cold, wet winter day and the forecast was for lots and lots of snow. The assignment was to get photos of people buying snow shovels and to interview store owners about their sales as people reacted to the forecast.

I was impressed with the pictures and story she brought back.

Time went by and last spring Tiffany e-mailed me about the possibility of doing an internship this summer. She is a junior at Ball State and trying to decide if she wants to go into graphic arts or become a reporter. I believe she will be successful whatever direction she takes.

Jessika learned Tiffany was doing an internship with us this summer and she wanted in on the action. Jessika is also a junior at Ball State and she has pretty well determined she wants to work with graphics. She, too, will do well.

Noel came to The Paper the first time I was the editor. She wanted to spend the day in a newspaper and so she was my shadow for a day. I lost track of her until she became an intern this summer. She will be a freshman at Anderson University this fall and she plans to study journalism. I guess that job shadowing experience stuck.

Noel drew the short straw when it came to assignments. For what probably seemed like an eternity to her she went to the police station every morning and wrote up our police blotter. I explained to her that would be great experience in paying close attention to detail, heeding deadlines and other lessons that would serve her well in her journalism career. Eventually, when she proved faithful in that task, we started talking about stories. She wrote about the Montessori School's garden and took pictures of the cute kids.

I was impressed with her first attempt and when the 4-H Queen Contest came around, I swallowed hard and asked both Noel and Tiffany to go and get photos. I also asked Noel to write our story and I think she did a great job.

So, the summer will soon be over. "My girls" are talking about going back to school and I look forward to following their adventures in the years ahead.

I am also looking for a high school junior or senior who wants to learn "newspapering" from the inside out. Teachers, moms and dads, call or send me an e-mail. I would love to have more special interns this fall!



Frank Phillips is the editor of The Paper of Montgomery County. He can be contacted by e-mail at frank@thepaper24-7.com. He wishes he could have been a newspaper intern and he wants to make it a positive experience for other young people.