I realized I wanted to be a journalist in high school. I love interacting with people and being able to express myself in writing and was always told I had a knack for storytelling and communicating.
As I prepared to apply for colleges, I looked at my skills and decided journalism was what I wanted to do. I attended SAIT Polytechnic and soon found myself caught up in lessons of ethics, public relations, writing formats and photography assignments. There were days when I felt that I truly belonged where I was, and others where I considered leaving school.
Luckily, I had an amazing support system between my family, my boyfriend, his family and my friends. I stuck it out and put in all the effort I could muster, and before I knew it, I was interning at the Red Deer Express this past March and April.
My first week was exciting, but slightly nerve-wracking. I had some troubles shifting from a free-spirited college student to a reporter in a professional environment. However, with the direction and help of my editors and publisher, I managed to earn myself a full-time reporting position.
I can’t express enough the gratitude and happiness I felt. I’m only 19-years-old, so I know I have a long way to go to prove myself, but I think I’m doing quite well.
The team here at the Express presented me with an opportunity that I am determined not to waste. Ever.
When I was about 15, I watched a movie called Almost Famous. The premise is based on the true story of an aspiring journalist. I watched this movie religiously and soon found myself driven by a particular quote.
“Be honest and unmerciful.”
To me, this means being honest with myself and maintaining ethical writing as part of a news team. To be unmerciful meant that I needed to stick to what I could call truths, and to never abandon my integrity.
I was given an extraordinary chance to prove myself when I was hired here. I fully intend to do so.
During my classes at SAIT, my favourite instructor, Mr. Walter Nagel, explained that to be a journalist it’s not about writing whatever I want – it’s about conveying social and political events in an honest, unbiased truthful manner so that our readership is educated and informed.
At first, I was discouraged because I thought being a journalist meant that I was free to write what I pleased. I felt restricted instantly.
But then I realized what an honour it would be to become a member of a community that people wanted to listen to, and more importantly, trusted.
I began to understand that with my skills of being unafraid to speak to people and my indomitable determination for answers, I was perfect for this job and was ready to start making a name for myself.
As a journalist, I want to be able to become someone in our community that people know and look forward to hearing from. For now, that means taking on each and every assignment with the idea that ‘this is important to people, so it needs to be important to me’.
I want to be able to show people that they can trust the media. I want people to want to take part in their communities, and remind people that we need to look out for each other’s interests, not just our own. The hardest part right now is knowing I have a long way to go before I can write ‘anything I want’, but the blow is softened by the thanks I get for helping organizations get word out for events, fundraisers or features.
I want the community to know me, both in Lacombe and Red Deer. I do not plan to be forgotten.
I look forward to everything this new career will bring me, and to earning the respect of my community.