Stories from intrepid reporters attending the Illinois Press Foundation Journalism Workshop at Eastern Illinois University
By Serah Welborn
Le Roy High School
Early in her career as an amateur reporter, Emily Scott considers herself a success for getting paid while doing what she loves.
The 17-year-old from Bethany has worked at her local newspaper, The Sullivan News-Progress, for a year.
Scott receives an average of $20 per story.
Her interest in writing goes hand-in-hand with her love for softball, and she often writes pieces about her own games and other activities.
“I’m very grateful that I get the experience at my age,” Scott said.
Scott applied for the job in response to an ad in the paper. She submitted her interests and personal details to Keith Stewart, the paper’s managing editor, who had been involved in the coverage of her school’s activities in the past.
They started an email correspondence, and she has been a valuable employee ever since.
In addition to her writing, Scott works hard to balance her roles as athlete, sister and student.
Her journalistic background has interested her in travel, formal training in writing and excelling in school. Scott shares her ambitions through her devotion to her community in Bethany and dreams of attending the University of Illinois. There, she hopes to follow the example of her mother and pursue a degree in the face of whatever life may throw her way.
Her successes can be partly attributed to Ann Wilson, a business teacher who taught her in middle school and in high school.
Wilson has encouraged her to do her best in everything, including the local keyboarding competitions at Lake Land College in Mattoon. After five consecutive wins within six years, Scott earned free dual-credit courses from the college.
Her last record was set at 97 words per minute.
Scott plans on spending her senior year at Okaw Valley High School involved in as many classes and activities as possible.
This includes a journalism course that is exclusive to seniors. The class helps produce its own newspaper every few months.
She looks forward to finally having the chance to pursue journalism on a daily basis, along with other academic interests.
“I hope to keep up my academics and become my class’s valedictorian,” Scott said. “Ever since I was in middle school, it’s been a dream of mine.”