FMU students intern at local newspaper

Tiffany Roper, Staff Writer

Two FMU students gained an opportunity to work at the Florence Morning News (FMN) this summer from June 4to July 27as interns through the university.

Seniors, Melissa Rollins, mass communication major, and Shanae Giles, English professional writing major, were selected by a panel of judges to participate in the internship, and they went through their departments in order to receive credit for the internship.

Rollins and Giles were able to experience working alongside writers at the FMN, learning some of the aspects of print journalism.

“Working for FMN was challenging but so rewarding,” Giles said. “I was thrown into the real working world where they asked you to do a job and you did it.”

Giles completed several tasks during her time with the FMN staff this summer.

“I received seven feature articles; two were published in the Hartsville Messenger and five were published in the Florence Morning Newspaper,” Giles said. “I posted Letters to the Editor online and sometimes helped other FMN staff make calls for their articles.”

Having work to look back at from her time at FMN, Giles felt as though the experience was incredible and her front page story in the FMN was her one day of fame.

“As a writer, I’m always happy to see my name in ink, but I was pleasantly surprised to see it on the front page of a big local newspaper,” Giles said. “Not only were my friends happy to see my success, but I’m also friends with a lot of my English professors and it was an indescribable feeling to have them say they were proud of what I had accomplished.”

Rollins also enjoyed working in the newsroom and being surrounded by people who work in the career of her dreams.

“I really enjoyed everything,” Rollins said. “This is what I want to do even more after being there.”

Under the direction and guidance of FMN editor, Tucker Mitchell, Giles and Rollins wrote stories, worked with computer programs and experienced what it is like to go out into the community in order to retrieve stories that may be informative or entertaining to the readers.

“To have somebody like that with all of that experience, tell you ‘hey your writing is good you need to tweak this a little’ or ‘when you’re writing this type of article you need to structure it like this’ was very valuable to me,” Rollins said.

Giles had the opportunity to write a story about Francis Marion University’s (FMU) tuition increasing by three percent.

“I loved it because I got to sit in on a Board of Trustees meeting and talk with President Carter and other influential people,” Giles said. “It was an eye-opener for sure.”

Rollins also gained some writing experience as well, writing about politics and town council meetings.

“I actually went to two different town council meetings,” Rollins said. “One in Darlington and one in Olanta and so that was interesting to me because I was interested in politics before but I had never had to pay close enough attention to actually write about it so that other people to understand.”

As she was given an opportunity to intern in their dream career, Rollins shared some advice for those interested in searching for internships.

“Just contact people even if you don’t necessarily know from your advisor that there is an opening,” Rollins said. “Express that you’re interested to your advisors, to your teachers, to whomever and just make those connections with people so that when they hear about an internship, they remember that you would be interested in doing that. Also, just strive in your schoolwork to show them, hey, I’m interested; hey, I’m a go-getter; hey, you don’t have to follow behind me. If you tell me to go do something, I’m going to go do it. It’s really important that you prove to people that you are willing to do whatever and that you’re going to get it done.”

Giles also gave students aspiring to gain an internship during their college career advice on how to do so.

“I’d say go for it,” Giles said. “The skills and experiences I gained at FMN are priceless. I learned things I couldn’t have ever learned in a classroom. I’d encourage every single student to take an internship somewhere. It really tests your character and your skills. I was a serious student before but now I’m more focused than ever.”