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My internship experience at Clay Today

By Kayden Zamor For Clay Today
Posted 7/13/23

CLAY COUNTY – The AnnieRuth Foundation’s Summer Internship Program affords high school students the opportunity to interact with community leaders, subject matter experts, and students from …

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My internship experience at Clay Today


CLAY COUNTY – The AnnieRuth Foundation’s Summer Internship Program affords high school students the opportunity to interact with community leaders, subject matter experts, and students from across the United States. The program focuses on personal, academic, and professional development; skills that students can use now and well into the future.

Award recipients are paid as they work in a safe, professional environment that aligns with their career aspirations. On June 4, the AnnieRuth Foundation proudly announced its 2023 Summer Internship Program Award Recipients. I was among the 22 students from across the globe and the surrounding area put the work in and completed this one year, points-based program. Our hard work paid off resulting in each of us being able to complete a summer internship experience in a safe, professional environment that directly aligns with our various career aspirations.

I began my internship experience at Clay Today on Monday, June 5, and have had the pleasure to be included as a member of the team until the completion of the internship. I worked directly with Don Coble, Managing Editor, working directly out of the corporate office on Fleming Island. I found motivation in my daily interactions with other staff members who I was able to meet and build relationships with.

It was extremely comforting to see a familiar face in Randy Lefko, Sports Editor, and photographer who I have had the pleasure of speaking with over the years as an athlete on the field for various stories at my school. Initially we established early on that my focus was mainly sports related, but I was open and willing to learn everything about the business of newspaper and editing stories. Overall, the employees and environment at Clay Today have been immensely friendly, supportive and knowledgeable.

So far, my time with Clay Today has been more than a simple internship; it was an opportunity for me to prove to myself that I could pivot and enjoy sports even if I were not the person with the ball. I have also shown myself to be a dependable employee, a reliable coworker, and a motivated student of the work. By showing up on time, communicating effectively, and following the directions of my mentor/supervisor I have proven I am more than just an athlete and I am able to do more. This internship was also an opportunity to gain office experience with people I never met to broaden my scope beyond high school as I prepare to enter college. I would not have received the lessons, training, of experience through an average summer job.

One of the most valuable skills I developed was my versatility and flexibility. I’ve learned that the work in news and journalism is fast paced and slow all at the same time. One of my first lessons at Clay Today was news does not happen in the office. Over the duration of my internship, I have published three articles. My very first article was published during my first week on the job about my knee injury and recovery.

I have had the pleasure of interviewing my coach and some teammates and friends about this upcoming football season. It has been extremely rewarding to share my thoughts and ideas and see them come to life in print and then share the actual article with family, friends, and the public. I have received feedback about my articles, and I try to incorporate that feedback into my work whenever I write.

I earned an increasing amount of responsibility in my third week of interning when I was asked to interview a teacher at my school regarding a grant that was received. I was also asked to take photos of a mini football camp for 8–12-year-olds for an upcoming story about summer camp. I’ve accomplished more tasks and am always happy to receive new work.

The support and direct feedback that I received from my mentor/supervisor was more than enough to make me feel comfortable with managing interviews and photography outside of the office walls. The empowerment that I have received on my internship was one of the most rewarding aspects of this experience. My mentor/supervisor has trusted me with projects and relied on me to get them done immediately and effectively. In addition, my coworkers trusted me and my abilities to assist them with the miscellaneous work they passed across my desk.

It felt like I was truly valued more as a coworker and not just a summer intern.

In summary, I am humbled and thankful for Don Coble and the staff at Clay Today for providing me with the ability to develop personally and professionally. They welcomed me immediately as part of the family and created an experience I could never forget.

Applications to participate in the AnnieRuth Foundation's 2024 summer internship program are being accepted NOW rising high school juniors and seniors (from across the USA) can apply at Don't delay, apply today!

Program requirements are being a rising junior or senior in high school, a minimum 2.0 grade point average, submit a 1,000-word essay, attend monthly virtual seminars and participate in a program fundraiser.