Journalist Looks Back on Internship at the Gazette

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courtesy photo Hardwick Gazette intern Francesca Celi Kitch covered U.S. Rep. Peter Welch on his early summer visit to the area.

by Francesca Celi Kitch

GREENSBORO — I’ve long been making the drive up to the Northeast Kingdom from the Boston area for camps, ski races, and family vacations. So, this summer I welcomed the opportunity to return to learn more about this special place and close-knit community.

The Hardwick Gazette has been an independent newspaper since 1889. It has struggled financially for many years. For the last few years, it has been subsidized by editor Ray Small and his wife, Kim. The Gazette is applying to be a non-profit with the hope of returning to print.

As an intern at the Gazette this summer, I provided an important boost to its coverage of the area as their only consistent reporter “on the ground.” This was a unique opportunity, as I had the chance to cover everything from select board meetings and local thrift shops to interviewing Senator Peter Welch.

Additionally, the natural disaster a few weeks ago added an interesting twist to my work. The area of Greensboro, where I lived, was greatly affected by flooding. The roads were destroyed, and I had to work remotely for a week, as I couldn’t get through to the newsroom or to town. Life and work were made even more of a challenge since we initially lost power and water. This was a remarkable exposure to not only the devastating effects of climate change, but also the ways in which the community responded. That week I interviewed several people about the events and ended up writing a piece about the network of rural communities that allowed Greensboro’s response to be so strong, something that will continue to be important as climate change only becomes more apparent.

Through my interactions with everyone I’ve talked to, I’ve come to understand the importance of local news and the value it has to the people. On my first day in Greensboro, I met an avid Gazette reader who was delighted to hear of my internship; community members in every capacity were thrilled to have live coverage of local events.

Being a reporter for the Gazette has helped me learn to interact with community members. I’ve learned how to conduct myself in a professional and assertive manner, and how to convey the stories of the people around me using their true voices. Getting interviewed for the paper can seem daunting to some, and I wanted to make it my job to make everyone feel comfortable, and convey their words accurately, giving credit where it was due and staying true to the facts. Regardless of whatever career I end up in, I am certain the skills I learned from this summer job will undoubtedly be helpful.

Thank you so much to the Kraft family for making this experience possible for me and to the ’68 Center at Williams College for organizing their sponsorship. Living and serving the community in the Kingdom is not something I will ever forget.

[Francesca Celi Kitch will be starting her sophomore year at Williams College in Williamstown, Mass., this fall.]