News sources like the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, and USA Today provide information to millions of readers everyday. With a global economy and mass media coverage, today more than ever, the public is focused on international affairs. Local papers are facing dwindling readership as individuals turn to free digitized news sources for their convenience and comprehensiveness.
Not all small papers are struggling, however. The Addison County Independent, or the Independent, “remains a viable business despite the general decline of printed newspapers around the world,” said Mary Langworthy ’17, a summer intern with the paper. Her internship is supported by the Summer Internship Support Fund.
The Addison Independent, which has been a family-owned newspaper since it was opened in 1946, is a semi-weekly paper based in Middlebury Vt., and supplies news to almost 10,000 Addison county residents.
Langworthy is working closely with the news editor, the publisher and a few reporters, to develop her interviewing and writing abilities. “Writing has long been a passion of mine,” she explained, “and learning to write in an accessible, engaging way for a popular audience has been, and continues to be, a lot of fun.” She also helps maintain the website by uploading articles and photos for the online readership.
Langworthy, who grew up reading the Independent, now has more than 20 of her own bylined articles published “on topics ranging from second graders going bird-watching to competitive outhouse racing (yes, that’s a thing).” Her repertoire includes “a wide variety of articles, including research-based, data-heavy pieces, sports stories, editorials, and event-related articles.”
Describing interviews as “challenging,” Langworthy explained that she speaks with “a variety of people about a variety of topics, [has] learned how to always think on [her] toes and come up with good, illuminating questions.” Interviewing has also taught her “how to communicate in an unbiased, easy to understand way,” she acknowledged, “a skill that's endlessly transferable.”
Langworthy has already been recognized for her contributions to the paper, earning a reporting award from the New England Newspaper and Press Association. She was nominated by her publisher for the Bob Wallack Award, a $500 scholarship for unpaid summer interns. “Out of dozens of eligible candidates, only three other college students interning at New England papers got the award,” she said.
Beginning her sophomore year in the fall, Langworthy has not yet committed to any post-collegiate plans. She has enjoyed pursuing her passion for writing through reporting and said, “I love my hometown community, so being able to hold a position of relative importance at the respected local newspaper has been an honor.”
Mary Langworthy is a graduate of Vergennes Union High School (Vt.).