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Over the summer, our readers may have noticed news stories by two of our reporters were accompanied by the words “Special to Larson Newspapers” in their bylines.

These news stories belong to our two summer interns, Allexxa Brooks and Elise McClain. The two will be seniors next year at Sedona Red Rock High School and will serve as co-editors of The Sting, the student-run newspaper produced monthly by the school’s journalism department and published on our press in Uptown.

After graduating from Sedona Red Rock High School, Allexxa Brooks, left, said she plans to attend Yale University in New Haven, Conn., and Elise McClain said she hopes to attend the University of Texas at Austin.As the 2012-13 school year wound down, I asked SRRHS journalism teacher Maureen Barton to recommend a student for an internship. For years, Larson Newspapers has offered an internship to a local student to foster future journalists, photojournalists and editors.

Barton recommended two, so we asked them to interview for the position. Brooks and McClain have both written for Scorpion Shout Out, one of our Wednesday columns, written by Barton’s students. After graduating from Sedona, McClain said she hopes to attend the University of Texas at Austin and Brooks said she plans to attend Yale University in New Haven, Conn.

It was difficult for us to select just one intern as we have in previous years, so our publisher, Bob Larson, suggested that we bring them both on for the summer.

Brooks and McClain were eager to learn about the inner workings of a small-town newspaper, so we had them shadow our reporters and photojournalists during their first weeks. They sat in at our staff meetings, helped our newsroom staff with editing, gathered their own stories, conducted interviews and wrote news stories — even pitching story ideas of their own.

It was also great for our staff to have young journalists around to teach the lessons learned throughout their many years in the industry.

Brooks and McClain churned out some great news and feature stories, which we’ve run in the Sedona Red Rock News, and our other publications: The Camp Verde Journal, the Cottonwood Journal Extra and The Village View, all of which they can use for portfolio clippings when they head off to college. Our readers will also continue to see a few of those stories that we couldn’t use immediately in upcoming editions of our papers.

As Brooks and McClain end their internships with the start of school, we wish them well in the school year to come and college beyond. Serving in the Fourth Estate is not easy, but the reward of helping one’s community — large or small, nationwide or local — is profoundly satisfying despite the headache of never-ending deadlines.

If we’re lucky, both Brooks and McClain will become the next Nellie Bly. We wish them all the best.

Christopher Fox Graham

News Editor

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