MARION -- Marion High School junior Bella Morris is the newest member of the Southern Illinois LOCAL Media Group family, joining the staff of the Marion Republican as a student intern.
Morris, who is completing her junior year, will focus most of her writing on school events and news.
Although she grew up dreaming of the Broadway stage, Morris realized that not only were chances slim of her dreams of stardom, but that life would also not be conducive to the traditional marriage and family.
"I want to stay in theater," she said, "even it's just community theater. But I love writing and I've always been interested in journalism."
Morris said as she learned more about the field, she realized it would be a good fit for her.
"I like talking to different people and learning new things," she said.
With plans to attend college and major in multimedia journalism, Morris decided that she needed to know more about the field and "on-the-job training" was the best way to learn.
"I love to learn and I want to be familiar (with journalism) before college," she said.
She put together some writing samples, created a resume, and contacted the Marion Republican.
"I've never done anything like this," she said, adding that her main expectation is simply learning to write a story.
Southern Illinois LOCAL Media Group editor Renee Trappe is happy to welcome Morris aboard.
"Kids in high school today are going to be the next generation of reporters and journalists," she said. "Even though the medium for delivering news is changing rapidly, the need for good, honest reporting will never change."
Trappe said that seeing a young person wanting to learn the trade through working is refreshing.
"Especially with the incredible amount of what is passing for news on social media these days, young people who are willing to be trained in special practices will be invaluable."
Morris, who will also be part of MHS' Kiddie City as well as doing a work study as an administrative aide at Marion's Washington Elementary School, hopes to make a local name for herself through her byline.
"I also want to build a resume for college," she said.
Her future plans include the possibility of being a broadcast journalist in a bigger market, like Chicago.
"It's really an aspect of performing," she said.