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Summer intern experiences journalism as a ministry

NASHVILLE, Tenn.(BP)–Intern: an advanced student or graduate, usually in a professional field, gaining supervised, practical experience.

The definition fits Brandy Campbell. She is an advanced student. She is studying journalism. This summer she gained supervised, practical experience in the communications department of LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention.

Campbell, 21, from Appomattox, Va., will be a senior at Bluefield College in Bluefield, Va., this fall. She is heading back to school with a summer full of experiences.

“This internship has been more than I ever expected,” she said. “With so many internships, the intern just gets to do the jobs no one else wants to do. I’ve been able to write and to travel. I’ve learned to use a digital camera and take pictures. I’ve been able to do what everyone else working here does. I’ve been involved in a ministry.”

When Campbell came to Nashville for her interview, she said it was a big day of firsts for her.

“This was my first trip to Nashville, my first professional job interview, first time to fly alone … a lot of firsts for two days.” she said.

She had her interview with Communications Dept. Director Linda Lawson and then spent the day going around with different department staff members, seeing what they did in their jobs. By the end of the day, she said she was excited about the prospect of spending her summer at LifeWay.

“I knew this was what I wanted to do,” she said.

After being notified she had been given the intern position for the summer, Campbell began work May 29.

She had been on the job for about two weeks when she had her first out-of-town assignment. She went to New Orleans to write stories and to observe the Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting.

“It was my first time to attend a Southern Baptist Convention,” Campbell said. “I was just thrust into the middle of it, but that was good for me. I loved being involved. It felt good to be trusted by the other LifeWay people there. I was given four writing assignments — the LifeWay report, the LifeWay exhibit, the Wounded Ministers luncheon and the FAITH luncheon.”

Campbell said the work she did at the convention, although a little overwhelming, helped her gain a great deal of self-confidence. “I was viewed as an employee, not as a child.”

Throughout the summer, Campbell wrote articles for LifeLines, the LifeWay in-house weekly publication for employees. With humor she outlined her struggle to learn all of LifeWay’s acronyms. She also profiled a Louisiana teenager who was actively involved in FAITH. She spent the day with a group of M-Fuge students and told their stories.

“I really enjoyed doing the M-Fuge story,” Campbell said. “It was so neat to go to the areas where they were working and see how they were ministering to people.”

In July, Campbell went to LifeWay Ridgecrest Conference Center for Sunday School Week.

While there, Campbell not only wrote stories about people, but had the opportunity to put her newly developed photography skills to work. “I’d taken pictures before,” she said, “but I’d never used a digital camera. It was a big confidence booster when I learned how to use that to take pictures. I’ve enjoyed learning the technical end of digital photography. I love how I can immediately see what I have shot and then either keep it, discard it or set up the shot again.”

In August, as her out-of-town last assignment, Campbell covered a Centri-KID camp at Eagle Eyrie Conference Center, Lynchburg, Va.

Campbell said she learned so much this summer that she never would have learned in a classroom.

“First of all, I’ve learned I can work under pressure. We have the pressure of deadlines at school, of course, but when it’s in a job, it seems different, more important,” she said.

“My self confidence has grown so much. I’ve seen what I can do. I can meet the expectations other people have of me. That feels good,” Campbell said.

She added that on a very practical level, having served in the internship, she has written “a lot of stories to add to my portfolio. It’s good to have stories done on a professional level as well as those from my Bluefield publications to include. I can even add some of my photographs.”

As far as what serving as a LifeWay intern has done for her career plans, Campbell said she has learned she has more options than she had ever considered.

“I knew I had writing skills, and I really did consider that to be a gift, but I didn’t think writing was very practical. I knew about writing for a magazine or a newspaper, of course, but now I have seen how writing can be a ministry. I want to use my skills in a Christian-related field. LifeWay had so much to offer me.”

Lawson, who as department director served as Campbell’s supervisor for the summer, said, “Brandy came to LifeWay well-prepared through her studies at Bluefield. She is a committed Christian who stepped into the communications department and has done outstanding work in writing and photography. We value this partnership with Baptist colleges and the opportunity to invest in students and to benefit from the training they are receiving.”
(BP) photo posted in the BP Photo Library at http://www.bpnews.net. Photo title: BRANDY CAMPBELL.

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  • Polly House