This summer, I have another opportunity to intern at The Heights Observer, a community-based newspaper that serves two Cleveland, Ohio, suburbs. I first interned at the newspaper for my high school senior project, and I returned this summer because the experience was so worthwhile.

The Heights Observer is published by FutureHeights, a nonprofit that seeks to improve the cities of Cleveland Heights and University Heights by encouraging people to shop locally and become engaged in their communities. The Heights Observer, which is printed monthly, covers only local news and takes submissions from community members.

While there are so many enjoyable aspects of my internship, I really value the hands-on experience that the environment offers. The staff consists of a handful of people, so everyone knows each other’s name. At the newspaper, the other interns and I work closely with the director of FutureHeights and the editor-in-chief of the newspaper.

I especially love that I can write the stories that I want to tell and have them appear online or in print. Also, I have an opportunity to go out on assignments, brainstorm story ideas, edit stories, format the weekly e-newsletter, post stories to the website, check for errors in the print drafts, deliver papers to local businesses and help with other tasks in the office.

I feel so fortunate to be a part of the publication process from start to finish, and I realize that I would not have this opportunity at a larger news organization. These duties complement information that I have learned in the classroom and will help me as I seek a journalism career at a large or small publication in the future.

I have always had a passion for writing, but I never realized how much I would be able to interact with community members as a journalist. In the short time that I have been an intern at the Heights Observer, I have met amazing people and discovered hidden treasures in the communities that surround my hometown. The newspaper serves a small geographic area, which allows me to build relationships with business owners and community members.

As I continue to intern at the Heights Observer, I look forward to gaining more valuable journalism experience.