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Stefan Kleinhenz cur­rently serves as City News Editor for the Hillsdale Col­legian Courtesy | Stefan Kleinhenz

When Hillsdale Col­legian City News Editor Stefan Kleinhenz first came to Hillsdale, he was excited.

 “I came to Hillsdale with the feeling of endless oppor­tunity,” Kleinhenz said.

Having enjoyed both oral and written com­mu­ni­cation in high school, he was excited Hillsdale offered a college news­paper and radio station and he got started during his first semester freshman year.

While Kleinhenz says that he was inter­ested in the big news and opinions at first, his outlook toward hard news has shifted over time.

“Those things are very tem­porary,” he said. “They’re gone in a snap of the finger.”

Since then, Stefan says he has realized the impor­tance of features.

“Fea­tures last longer,” he said. “They like you’re making more of a difference.”

One way he has imple­mented his under­standing in the way he runs the city news section, uti­lizing feature stories to add sub­stance and increase “shelf life.”

“Espe­cially for a weekly paper, it’s hard to do just straight news because you could write the story on Monday and it doesn’t matter by Thursday,” he said.

Kleinhenz said he appre­ciated the impor­tance of city news, espe­cially with the myriad elec­tions this year.

“It makes our paper unique,” he said. “Most col­leges don’t have a city news section. People in town wait every Thursday morning for the section to come out because they want to read it.”

A lot of Stefan’s changing per­spec­tives have come from his internship expe­ri­ences, he remarked.

Last fall, Stefan par­tic­i­pated in the Wash­ington-Hillsdale Internship Program, where he landed another internship with One America, writing a couple of stories during the weekdays and as a live reporter on weekends.

“It was chal­lenging work on the ground,” he said. “D.C. isn’t Hillsdale.”

After just six weeks back on campus last semester, COVID-19 struck. Stefan orig­i­nally planned to go on a road trip. Nev­er­theless, he ended up being offered and accepting a full-time job with One America.

Kleinhenz noted that it was dif­ferent working for D.C. during the COVID-19 pan­demic. “It was a ghost town,” he said.

During this time, Stefan saw firsthand the dangers of jour­nalism on the ground in D.C. during the early days of the Black Lives Matter protests.

Being among the front­lines of the protests, like the attempted tearing down of the Eman­ci­pation statue, he described the scene  as “like a war zone.” During his three nights of gath­ering videos and pic­tures of the event under­cover, he got pepper-sprayed, hit with a paintball, and hit in the back with a rock, which he has held onto to this day.

“It wasn’t scary in the moment,” he said. “But looking back, it was scary.”

Reflecting on his expe­rience in D.C., he has decided he does not want to return to that line of work again.

While he still wants to work in some form of com­mu­ni­cation, he said he wishes to steer clear of  D.C. and journalism.

“It takes a toll on you,” he said. “You really can’t be around that and not let it affect you. It hurts your heart and your soul.”

Here at Hillsdale, however, he is still fully invested in jour­nalism on campus.

In addition to his work for the Col­legian, he hosts a radio show on Thursday morning, where he and a friend talk about pol­itics “from a good arm’s length,” along with sports and other fun subjects.

Unlike jour­nalism in D.C., “It’s light-hearted,” he said. “It doesn’t hurt your soul.”