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|| News Item: Posted 2009-10-04

Intern Diaries: The Lima News
'I learned to shoot whatever I saw and keep looking for something more interesting.'

By David Bond, The Lima News

Photo by David Bond / The Lima News

Photo by David Bond / The Lima News

Justin Gibson places his two pet Ball Pythons around his neck in downtown Lima. Gibson said he used to be scared of snakes, but after being around his friend's snakes, he started to like them.
I thought it was only natural for me to go out and find an internship at a small local paper near the end of my sophomore year of college so that I could improve my work and move up to a larger paper my junior year. That, however, did not happen. Instead, I spent the summer after my sophomore year in Japan with my brother. Although I didn't gain any work experience to plop down on my resume, it's certainly not a decision I regret. So, I began my first internship (a year late) this past summer at the Lima News in Lima, Ohio.

Although it's a relatively small paper in a relatively small city (population around 40,000), I had heard many great stories about its internship program and the people who came out of it. When Photo Editor Craig Orosz began his intern search, I interviewed, and was luckily selected to be brought on board.

One aspect of the job that surprised me was that I was never treated like an intern. Several of my friends who had internships this summer (outside of journalism) were relegated to making the coffee, taking out the trash, etc. However, from day one, I was treated like a regular staffer. That felt great, but also put the pressure on me in the beginning to show that I was up to task. In fact, I specifically remember the first assignment I was given.

My day began at 1:00 and I was told to go out and find some piece of wild art and bring it back for the budget meeting by 3:00. I jumped in my car and cruised around looking for anything. Soon, an hour had gone by, then an hour and a half. I didn't want to shoot just anything. I wanted to come back with something stellar, but I decided that wasn't going to happen, and I would just have to shoot whatever I could find. I parked my car downtown and hit the streets. Not ten minutes after I had parked, I saw a man with a red Mohawk walking on the sidewalk with two pythons around his neck. Hot damn! I just found my photo. Feature hunting did take up a lot of my time in Lima, and after that first incident, I learned to shoot whatever I saw and keep looking for something more interesting.

Everything was going great up until my third week when I was struck by the Lima curse. On my way to an assignment, I was hit going through an intersection, and my car was totaled. When I called into the newsroom to inform them of what happened, someone in the background said, "Oh, no. The curse strikes again." I was the eighth intern to be involved in a car accident in the past four years. Luckily, I was not injured and was able to quickly get another car to continue on. Future Lima interns -- watch out for the curse.

Photo by David Bond / The Lima News

Photo by David Bond / The Lima News

David Bond flies about 400 feet above Bruce Brown's powered paragliding training farm in Bowling Green, Ohio.
One of the most important skills I learned over the summer was how to work with reporters. I know photographers complain about working with reporters and vice versa, but I found having a good working relationship with reporters really improved the stories as a whole. Simply talking to each other and bouncing ideas off one another paid off -- not matter how big or small the story was. Working with reporters was never really something that I had done in the past at my university newspaper or at any of the papers I had freelanced for, and now I see how unfortunate that is.

My favorite assignment while on staff was easily when I was given the opportunity to photograph a small story on powered paragliding. Craig and I often talked about our mutual fascination and love of aviation. When he came across a man who trains people to fly powered paragliders, he gave me the information right away and told me to contact the guy and see if he would be interested in having a story done on his business. A few weeks later, I found myself in the middle of a cornfield taking off in a powered paraglider to get photos and video from the air. Being 500 feet with no kind of enclosure of any kind around, and just letting my feet dangle in the air was thrilling.

"Have fun, man." I will always remember hearing Craig say those almost everyday. No matter how awesome our job is, there will always be assignments we don't want to shoot -- a tax meeting, an awards dinner, etc. However, Craig always told me to have fun, because although I was there primarily to learn, it was all for naught if I wasn't having a good time. Simple advice, but great as well.

(David Bond is a student at Ball State University. Examples of his work can be view on his member page:

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