Kentucky Journalism Prof Recounts Summer ‘Externship’

As one of six academics selected by the Scripps Howard Foundation for a subsidized social media “externship,” Murray State journalism professor Leigh Wright chose to spend her two weeks with members of the Treasure Coast Newspapers in Stuart, Florida. Upon her return to Murray, Kentucky, she spoke with a reporter for the student newspaper about her experiences.

Before becoming a teacher, Wright was a reporter with the Paducah Sun and says that in 2009, reporters there were just starting to use Twitter and social media analytics. Not so, of course, today:

“The [Treasure Coast Newspapers] could measure how far down someone reads a story on the website before they quit,” she explained. “There are jobs in newsrooms now for people who want to analyze things like that.”

During her time in Florida, Wright accompanied reporters to a protest at Indian River Lagoon and for the start of lobster mini-season. As part of the Scripps Howard externship, money will also be provided to send out from the Sunshine State to Wright’s class this school year a related guest speaker.