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Look for some new faces on the Pine Knot staff

Three University of Minnesota Duluth journalism students are getting a taste of the small-town newspaper world with the Pine Knot News this spring through a first-ever micro-internship experience.

Chloe Farnsworth, Max Thibault and Maddie Gagnon all seniors, will participate in the program.

Farnsworth and Thibault will work on the editorial side of the paper, while Gagnon - who is business manager at UMD's student-run news magazine The Bark and its website - will be working mostly with Pine Knot advertising director Ivan Hohnstadt.

The Pine Knot News staff and UMD Journalism program director and professor Jennifer Moore had been discussing the possibility of an independent study opportunity at the Pine Knot News for months and decided to dive in this spring.

"I'm excited that Chloe, Maddie and Max get to experience what it's like to work for a locally owned and operated weekly newspaper and shadow some of the best community reporters in our region," Moore said. "This is something new for both UMD and the Pine Knot. I have high hopes that everyone involved benefits and this micro-internship experiment will continue beyond this semester."

In their time at the Pine Knot, the editorial interns will be writing feature stories and learning how to cover crime and public meetings as well as attending community events. Gagnon has already spent two days making sales calls with Hohnstadt and also met with other experienced sales people in Cloquet.

Gagnon said studying journalism has been a "transformative" experience already, but she's excited to gain more practical experience.

"Throughout my studies, I have found fundamental importance in safeguarding our First Amendment rights, specifically freedom of press and freedom of speech," Gagnon wrote in an introductory essay about herself. "What truly captivates me about journalism is the responsibility of sharing the stories of those in our community who may not have the opportunity to share their own story personally. This commitment to storytelling is one of the many reasons that drew me to Pine Knot News, a locally owned, independent newspaper."

The three students come to the Pine Knot with different backgrounds but the same firm commitment to journalism.

Thibault is an English major from Duluth who transferred from Loyola and picked up a journalism minor as a way to sharpen her writing skills.

"I didn't realize that I would also learn to be a better member of my community," she said, explaining that she has gained critical thinking skills "that have changed how I interact with the media and news I consume."

Farnsworth isn't new to weekly newspapers. The Kasson, Minnesota native started working at her hometown newspaper, the Dodge County Independent, as a freshman in high school.

"I spent all of high school working there and just fell in love with the atmosphere, so I knew for a while that I wanted to major in journalism," said Farnsworth, who also has a minor in digital literature, writing and design. "I am really hoping to learn more about the work that goes into putting a weekly paper together. I am also excited to have professional help with my writing."

Thibault is also excited to gain more experience before she graduates. "I am also looking forward to going out into the community, meeting new people, and telling their stories."

Advertising also tells a story. Gagnon hopes to hone her skills on both sides of the newspaper.

"I look forward to broadening my journalistic skills, fostering connections in the Carlton County community, and sharing about the community's stories, businesses, and individuals that make Carlton County vibrant and unique," she said.

Pine Knot editor Jana Peterson said the newspaper is happy to have students join the team this semester.

"It's fun to help young people gain practical skills, and they keep us sharper too," she said. "While we hope they go on to work as journalists, even if they don't they can be good citizen journalists after working here. That's a win, too."

Got story ideas or suggestions for our newest interns? Email [email protected], call 218-878-9332 or stop by the office at 122 Avenue C in Cloquet during regular business hours.

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