Hands-on career experience at the 2022 Pennsylvania Farm Show
By Dylan Bowman
Knightly News Reporter
At the beginning of the Central Penn winter term, I was approached with an offer. At the time, I wasn’t looking for an internship; I just wanted to focus on schoolwork. Little did I know just how much experience was in store for me at the 2022 Pennsylvania Farm Show.
Professor Paul Miller came to me before class one day late in the fall term. He stated that a week-long press internship was available at the Farm Show and that it sounded perfect for me. It was a tempting offer: A paid internship in which I would gain experience, work for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and do what I love while there.
I was sold.
Upon arriving at the internship on my first day in the second week of winter term, I was excited and nervous, to say the least. However, as the day passed, I became comfortable and made several friends with my fellow interns.
Our main goal for the week was to assist the press office of the Department of Agriculture in promoting the Farm Show to the public. Taking photographs and finding interesting individuals and events for stories on the Farm Show was our highest objective, as well as attending events to capture important photos and retain information for photo captions.
As soon as the week began and I understood my tasks, I made a personal goal: I was going to interview several interesting people from popular stands and write at least three stories for the “Faces of Agriculture” series of the week (a group of features written about interesting people at the show).
Throughout the week, I interviewed three companies and their managers and employees, including the PA Maple Syrup Producers Council, John Freidhoff of Friends of the Farm Show and the Breweries of Pennsylvania. On my last day, I did a fourth and final story on Cherry Hill Orchards of Pennsylvania.
Throughout the week, I was scheduled for many events that would be taking place, all for which I had a pass to attend and during which to move about freely. This proved to be a vital aspect of my experience while in the internship because it allowed me to feel the power of my position and my interest (photography) for the first time. I was down in the arenas, among the livestock, and walking through doors and areas that no visitors were allowed to access. It was like some kind of dream.
But shaking myself back to reality, I understood that I had a lot of work to do. I was responsible for capturing all the photos of my assigned events, at times with other interns, but most often alone.
One of the hardest parts of this proved to be gathering information for photo captions after the event ended, especially when a judge would leave before I could get to them and ask my questions.
Nonetheless, photographing the events and anything else at the Farm Show, especially with free reign as to where I could go, was my favorite part of the experience. Trying new ideas and then posting them for the Department of Agriculture was a professional experience that will certainly affect my future endeavors for years to come.
Unexpected but not unwelcome
As the week came to its climax and began to wind down, I began to wonder whether my greatest passion would be of any use to the Farm Show press department.
Could I even do that? I thought. Would they let me make a promotional video?
It certainly wasn’t in the job description. Explaining my skill set was easy enough, but upon asking, I expected a long line of state restrictions I had never heard of or a list of reasons why they didn’t want or need a video in the press office.
I was wrong.
My managers told me that such a promo would be a great idea and that I should do one if I felt inclined. After hearing this unexpected but welcome news, I set to work making a list of ideas and shots that I would make for the promo video for the Farm Show.
As the last days of the Farm Show passed, I wandered the Farm Show Complex, touching places and corridors I had never seen, to capture the side of the show that the public doesn’t see. Editing my work followed shortly after, and I was hard-pressed to polish and finish my work before the show ended.
Finally, on the eve of the last day of the Farm Show, the promotional video was finished. I had made promotional films only for small businesses before this, so I felt the pressure as I called my managers and fellow interns over to preview it.
At first, several voices stated how good the shots were. Then the room grew silent as the video reached the halfway mark. I didn’t dare turn around to see faces.
As the 2022 Farm Show logo sprouted on the screen to end the short, everyone burst into applause and congratulated me on the quality of the video. I was genuinely astonished at everyone’s reaction but found that this was one of the greatest moments in my videography journey so far. In learning more and pushing my skills, I can improve my work and form impressions in viewers.
Final thoughts on the experience
This internship, though short, gave me more experience in a week than I could have hoped for in a month. I was not only able to do what I love but also enhanced my skills in photography, videography, interviewing and marketing.
I plan to use the experience I gained from this professional project to better my skills and to enhance my portfolio for future employment and other projects. In doing so, I may gain new opportunities and meet new people who can assist me in my career journey.
I believe it is important for us to remain vigilant in self-development and betterment. I plan to continue doing this by looking for opportunities such as the press internship at the 2022 Pennsylvania Farm Show.
Comment or story idea? Contact KnightlyEditors@CentralPenn.Edu.
Edited by media-club co-adviser and blog editor Professor Michael Lear-Olimpi.