Uncertain on a career path after feeling “unfulfilled” while editing and writing for student publications, Sally Kershner, an English major with a minor in classical studies at The College of Wooster, took a fortuitous walk down the steps of Andrews Library to a bulletin board posting of internships and an APEX Fellowship later, she feels reinvigorated about a future in journalism.
Kershner’s love of words and high-energy nature seem to be a perfect match for that line of work, however, today’s prevalent negative news coverage, both on-line and traditional print, don’t match her effervescent personality. A whole new realm of journalism opened up to her, though, via an 11-week internship last summer at Ohio Magazine, and she plans to pursue it with vigor.
“This internship definitely helped me gain professional experience in the field of journalism. I (now) understand how the publishing process works for magazines, I understand how state and local, regional journalism works, and how you produce a publication,” she said. “I love to tell stories about life … inspire others to travel, to visit this gallery, visit this museum, to try this food, be excited about the world.”
Combining her wordsmithing skill and take-charge attitude with editors who were “very encouraging,” Kershner now has quite a portfolio to showcase to potential employers. She totaled 26 bylines over the course of just four issues, “more clips than any intern we’ve had in a while,” it was said during her exit interview.
That’s a significant statement considering Ohio Magazine’s interns typically come from well-respected journalism schools. At first, Kershner wondered “how am I qualified to be here,” but she quickly realized “because of my liberal arts education, I know how to adapt well to my surroundings.”
Versatility and an eagerness to explore a wide range of interests served Kershner well. On her first day, she fact checked a piece on UFC heavyweight champion and Cleveland product Stipe Miocic, an exciting start for Kershner, who takes pride in her northeast Ohio roots. Her role quickly expanded to researching, traveling, and writing briefs on Ohio Beach Towns, and also multiple-page spreads on a Columbus-based artist Carol Stewart and Amish country antique malls, food markets, and flea markets.
While “there is nothing more exciting than seeing your byline in print for the first time,” it was those features that has fueled her passion. “Once I had this spread (on the artist), it was addicting. OK, I need to write more,” she said.
Whether the infectiously-enthusiastic Kershner finds a career in travel journalism, which she admits has “peaked her interest,” or as a content creator for a marketing or communications firm or even a freelancer, she’s grateful for the boost that APEX, the internship, and a Wooster education have provided her.
“When I got there and I was in the office surrounded by other people who were just as fascinated by words and journalism … my heart has never said ‘yes’ more. I had lost touch with that feeling,” she said. “When I got to my internship, everything just made sense from the first day.”