Papers' intern says goodbye after a summer full of stories
How do you say goodbye to a place youve only begun to know?
I arrived in Forest Grove three months ago, at the end of May, as the Hillsboro Tribune and Forest Grove News-Times summer Snowden intern. Id graduated just weeks prior from George Fox University in Newberg, and I didnt know anyone in Forest Grove, the community I was supposed to get to know, write about and be absorbed in.
Frankly, I was terrified.
Now, just 12 weeks later, that terror is nearly gone, only reappearing occasionally like, for example, when I was previewing the Oregon International Air Show in Hillsboro and found myself 3,500 feet in the air, twisting and looping in a tiny acrobatic airplane. For these weeks, Ive been incredibly fortunate: Ive had the opportunity to cover some fascinating and, frankly, incredible stories. Besides flying in a tiny plane, I drove a Porsche worth more than my college tuition, saw firsthand the state cornhole championships and met the Arizona Diamondbacks first-round draft pick. Ive had unforgettable experiences.
But so much more valuable than the experiences even the adrenaline-fueled ones have been the people. The popular perception of a reporter is someone dry, totally objective, Spock-like almost not quite human. To be a reporter, though, means telling the truth, and so a reporter has to be human and vivid and alive truth can only exist meaningfully between people. And despite the brevity of my stay in Forest Grove, Ive met, interviewed and worked with some of the finest people I know.
I got to write about a two-year-old girl who battled through 10 tumors in her eye. I met a police officer whos given 40 years of his life to the community. I sat in on dozens of meetings, staffed by citizens dedicated to making a difference, regardless of publicity or fanfare. These were ordinary citizens; these were extraordinary citizens.
And now, I feel Im just beginning to understand the flow of life here. Im recognized at the coffee shop. I pass people on the street to whom I can say hello, give a smile. These are important things, and Im sad to leave just as Im starting to find them.
But, above all, Im grateful. Ive learned an immensity here. Ive grown as a reporter: the News-Times staff, to the last person, is encouraging and funny and warm. And, however briefly, Ive gotten to call this place home.
Ive done my best to do it justice. I covered a few stories while I was here, each to the very best of my ability. But there are so, so many more I wont get to cover. Believe me, I wish I could.
Thank you to everyone. Im off to begin graduate school at Oregon State University in Corvallis, but Forest Grove, Cornelius, Hillsboro: I cant wait to return.
Editors Note: Ryan Lackey has been the Hillsboro Tribune and Forest Grove News-Times Charles Snowden Program for Excellence in Journalism intern this summer. He will be
sorely missed, and we wish him well.