My final month at the Indianapolis Star was when I felt like I was really getting used to my job and getting used to where I was working. Though internships teach you so much, that is the big disadvantage - once you finally settle in, it's time to go. In my last month, I was thrown a lot of assignments that challenged me. A concert (I've never shot one before), extreme flooding, shooting deaths in Indianapolis' black community, and a profile on two Indiana sisters who have taken the racing community by storm.
My personal project while at the Star was the story on the two racing sisters (link). Due to distance, I didn't have much time to work on it, but I somehow put a video, photo gallery, and story together before I left. The video ended up being picked up by AP and garnered over 116,000 views and 1300 shares on Facebook. I've never had something I've worked on reach such an audience before. People from all over the country were applauding me and the women in the story, and it was such a good feeling to know that people valued my work.
It also gave me perspective on how important it is to tell stories that matter for the community. As larger papers are absorbing local, community news outlets, we run the risk of forgetting America's small-town communities. Indiana is a hub of racing, and I learned that as soon as I got to Indianapolis. That's why, for me, it was important to tell the story of a racer. But who would it be? I stumbled across the two sisters while looking at a results page, and I knew that's where I'd find my story. Luckily, they were some of the best people I could've met. I love how journalism allows me to meet people I wouldn't have met otherwise.
In every situation, I tried to venture out of my comfort zone and get interesting pictures. Not just photos that depicted what was going on, but photos that made you step back and think, "Man, I never thought I'd see it this way."