Elsie Carson-Holt ’24 shares story about writing for her hometown newspaper

Elsie Carson-Holt ’24
Elsie Carson-Holt ’24 had a winternship working at The Kitsap Sun in Washington State. Here, she enjoys reading the paper at home.

Elsie Carson-Holt ’24 pursued her passion for journalism during her funded winternship working at The Kitsap Sun in Washington State. Here, she writes about her experience.

The first time I was published in my local newspaper, The Kitsap Sun, was when I was 13 years old. I had written a letter to the editor advocating for the release of a captive killer whale, originally from the Puget Sound, where I lived, from a marine park in Miami.

My letter (unsurprisingly) did not lead to the release of that whale, but it did further my interest in writing and journalism. Most importantly, it taught me about the value of local papers—to represent and inform community members, no matter their age.

I am now pursuing a double major in English and political science with a minor in journalism. I have held two media internships, I am the managing editor of The Wheaton Wire and I plan to become a reporter after graduating from Wheaton. When considering my winter break plans, I decided I wanted to work as a reporting intern for The Kitsap Sun. Thanks to Wheaton winternship funding, I got to do just that.

At The Kitsap Sun, I focused on issues primarily in my hometown of Bainbridge Island, Wash., but also in Kitsap County. Working at the newspaper was a deeply rewarding experience.

I wrote about issues that mattered to the community that I had grown up in—a community that helped raise me. It led to me attending events such as the annual Mochi Tsuki Festival, an event with a rich history that celebrates the New Year and Japanese Americans’ contributions to Bainbridge. I went to school board meetings and met with superintendents about school reconstructions and bonds and levies. I interviewed a woman who decided to start a blues and jazz festival called PB&J in a town near me. I was able to practice my journalistic and reporting skills in a variety of ways, from writing short and quick pieces on a deadline to conducting a plethora of research and interviews so I could write longer in-depth pieces.

My editor, David Nelson, was always incredibly supportive of my writing and ideas. He listened to my pitches, explained things and provided help when I asked, and did whatever was needed to strengthen my writing. He is someone who is also clearly deeply involved in the community his newsroom is based in, a model for reporters everywhere.

Although I worked at newspaper for only a brief time, I definitely can say that my writing and reporting skills have been enriched by the experience. I feel very grateful to have gotten the chance to do strong reporting in local print media, especially in a time that is bleak for young reporters like myself, when it seems like there are so many headlines about jobs being cut at news organizations and newspapers shutting down.

The fact that I got to hone my writing, reporting and research skills while producing work that engaged and educated people in the community I grew up in is invaluable.

—By Elsie Carson-Holt ’24

Read about other winternships.