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|| News Item: Posted 2009-10-04

Intern Diaries: Provo Daily Herald
'The first major lesson I learned was to look everywhere for story ideas.'

By Lance Booth, Provo Daily Herald

Photo by Lance Booth / Provo Daily Herald

Photo by Lance Booth / Provo Daily Herald

A girl plays in the foam at Foam Day in Lehi, on Friday, July 24th. Foam Day is a new annual event where firefighters create a field full of nontoxic foam for families to play in.
I was in the middle of editing the first few hours of a "good" video interview I shot, when my phone rang. Irritated, due to lack of sleep and lack of food, I wanted to throw my phone. I don't typically ignore calls, but I was very close to ignoring the call and turning my phone off so I could focus on production, which I wasn't exactly used to.

Instead, I took a deep breath and answered the phone. Turns out that answering the phone was a great decision. It was Ashley Franscell Detrick calling me about an internship for the Daily Herald in Provo, Utah.

She told me it was a good area as long as I didn't have a problem with Mormons. More on that later. She also told me to take my time to decide whether not I wanted to go out there, but I already knew I wanted to.

My family could never afford to go on trips or vacations. So I jumped at the offer to get paid taking pictures out west.

My first order of business after accepting the internship was to look for housing. Searching craigslist I came across a bunch of Brigham Young University housing, but I had no idea what that meant. When I found a place with $95 monthly rent, I couldn't turn it down. I mean, I could do BYU housing right?

Just to let everyone know, BYU is a big Mormon college in Provo. When living in BYU housing, you have to live by the honor code for BYU, which includes the following: no coffee or tea, no smoking, no alcohol, no girls in your room, use clean language, observe dress and grooming standards and participate regularly in church services.

Now as someone that is an atheist, was hoping to have my girlfriend visit, smokes, drinks coffee like water, likes to party (which includes alcohol) and shaves maybe once a week, I might have made a bad decision. But, seriously, $95 rent?! How could I turn that down?

I left Bowling Green, Ky., on June 7 and wanted to get to Provo, Utah within two days. I enjoyed most of the trip except the entire flat part of America, so I guess that means, I didn't enjoy most of my trip. In any case, I was ready to shoot some pictures.

I arrived in Salt Lake City late on the June 8 and was exhausted. I stayed at my friend Brendan Sullivan's house. I was lucky to have a friend that was also interning in Utah at the Deseret News. I chilled that night had a beer. I was kind of freaked out when I drank because I didn't know how serious this housing contract was.

Two days later my internship started. The beginning of the day was meeting everyone, doing some paperwork and learning the workflow. I was really hoping to shoot my first day but I didn't think I was going to.

Finally, an assignment came in. I had to go to Springville and shoot a carnival. Pretty easy, right?!

Well, I arrived, after getting lost for about 40 minutes. Damn grid system. I immediately went to a ride and convinced the worker to let me on it to shoot. Bad idea.

I've never been a fan of rides like roller coasters and found out I'm still not a fan. I was scared of dropping my camera while I was flipping and twisting around. Unfortunately, I forgot about my pen and caption book, both of which flew out of my back pocket.

Luckily, I found my caption book while fighting the urge to vomit, but never found a pen. So, I asked someone for a pen, and chased down the people whose names I needed, while fighting to stay on my feet from being so dizzy.

Then I realized the picture I had was pretty lame, so I went back to shooting. I came across two young couples, made a few pictures and continued on my way.

I got back to the office and started going through my pictures. While toning the one of the two young couples. I heard, "Sweet picture. Good toning," Mark Johnston said. "Damn, the intern gets here and out shoots me the first day!" I laughed and said thanks.

Throughout the internship I covered many assignments I liked, but the one that sticks out in my mind is Foam Day.

Photo by Lance Booth / Provo Daily Herald

Photo by Lance Booth / Provo Daily Herald

From left to right: Sammy Curtis with her boyfriend Taylor Castleton went to the Art City Days Carnival with their friends Kayla Robertson and Dillon Bradford.
Foam Day was an event in Lehi, Utah on Pioneer Day, a Utah holiday. It was basically the fire hoses spraying foam all over a bunch of people. All I had was a plastic bag (not enough to really protect my camera). Trying to avoid getting my camera wet and making good pictures is actually impossible, so I jumped right in front of the hose.

Covered in foam and trying to keep my lens clean, I snapped away. I came away with what I thought to be a few good frames. I had a blast covering it. The one thing I regret from the event is not taking a self-portrait.

I don't think I could have done this internship without everything I learned at Western Kentucky University. Western has prepared me more than I can describe. The Practicum class is almost exactly like working at a newspaper. Having a coverage area, needing accurate captions, working for a deadline and having a badass teacher, Tim Broekema, gave me a huge chunk of the skills I needed to survive the internship.

Another class that prepared me was Picture Stories, taught by Francis Gardler. Picture Stories is a class where you have to find a picture story every week. The class helped me so much when it came to Monday Close-Ups, which is a picture story published every Monday in the Daily Herald. The photographer has to find the story, shoot it and write it.

I don't think I ever exactly kicked a Monday Close-Up's ass, but I don't think I failed completely. I'm pretty sure I would have completely freaked out if I didn't have a class like picture stories. By covering Monday Close Up's, I probably learned the most.

The first major lesson I learned was to look everywhere for story ideas. I never realized looking at a small post-it on a bulletin board could turn into an amazing story.

The second most important lesson I learned was actually very obvious: talk to everyone. Everyone! When you go buy food talk to the waitress, when you go the grocery store talk to the clerk. I mean, literally everyone.

Here is another crazy idea: talk to the people at the newspaper. Oh my gosh, who would have thought that?! But seriously, I have a problem with being super shy when in a new area. When I'm working I can talk to everyone, but when I don't have a camera on me I kind of freeze up.

Oh, you know how I said, "more on that later," when talking about Mormons? Well, as a college student that can't afford a lot and just moved to a new area, the biggest piece of advice I can offer other interns is GET ROOMMATES!

I moved with a three people that were very religious and I am not. My roommates and I were people from completely different backgrounds and, in a way, cultures. These people became really good friends and provided so much information about the town I probably wouldn't have ever learned.

I honestly believed that I wouldn't be able to handle how religious everyone was, but I was completely wrong in everyway. If I listened to my friends that said I wouldn't be able to deal with Mormons I wouldn't have ever moved in with them. I wouldn't have got those good photos and I wouldn't have made some lifetime friends.

So, in other words, Mormons are good people. Roommates are good people. Newspaper people are good people. And I'm sick of saying good people.

Since I'm wrapping this little article thing up, I figured it is a good time to have "shout outs".

Let's start with Ashley Franscell Detrick for not only being a badass photo editor/boss, but also for being a badass in general. Seriously, look at her stuff she is damn good. She was always on top of her stuff when I needed help or when I needed a kick in the ass.

Randy Wright, editor of the Daily Herald, was also very helpful. I remember I talked to him about the industry and photos one night for about two hours. He gave me some insight about the industry and how to not worry about it. I'm also lucky that Uncle Joe's Ghost was there (anyone at the Daily Herald will get this.]

Mark Johnston, I have to say he can completely kick my ass when it comes to portraits. I've always struggled when it comes to lighting and even though I never came away with a portfolio portrait or anything, he did help me get better at lighting. Looking at his work and talking about it helped me a great deal.

Mario Ruiz is an awesome guy. Anytime I had questions he was always incredibly nice and willing to help. He left the Daily Herald around the same time as I did and I wish the best for him.

Another person that actually doesn't work for the Daily Herald who I have to thank is Trent Nelson. I met Mr. Nelson at a few assignments and he is an incredibly chilled out person. He also gave me some solid insight on the industry and some solid info on making better pictures.

Other than that, thanks to everyone at the Daily Herald and everyone else I met out there. It is a shame that once I started to get comfortable I had to go back to school, but apparently that is the norm for summer internships.

The Daily Herald has easily been the best experience I've ever had when it comes to this profession. Even with a bad economy and newspapers failing everywhere, I love this so much. I don't know what else I would do.

In other words, it was a freaking fun time. Hopefully, I will be able to visit Utah again in the near future because I miss it more than I expected.

(Lance Booth is a student at Western Kentucky University. His work can be view at his member page:

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