Back At It

I’m fighting stereotype.

I’ve looked to newspapers for this, but I fear that may have to change.

I love true stories—they’re consistently surprising. I love “show, don’t tell” (read my blog post here). I love all the roles a community news organization fills. But most of all, I love stories with depth, narrative, and hidden complexities. I hope to write a nonfiction book someday.

But newspapers felt right to me. They present all the challenges (and satisfaction) of forging written words, all while fulfilling essential roles in the community. I still plan to become an editor.

I went from St. Thomas University to the Petawawa Post, to the Beaumont News.

I was then laid off, along with 360 other people. It was the one of the three rounds of lay offs Sun Media had in 2013.

I loved the Beaumont News. As the sole reporter/photographer, I became comfortable with a workload and pace I had never experienced. I discovered how in-tune with a community you become when filling a paper every week. I became comfortable with InDesign, and a lot of the logistical and business elements of newspapers. It was an invaluable experience. It also solidified my decision to pursue this career—there is no other option.

So when I lost the job, I needed to stay busy. I often defend my belief that everyone has a story to tell. It was time to test it.

I had worked on farms years earlier, while hitchhiking Canada. I decided to join the WWOOFing program again and create a podcast. (Read my blog post on here). It brought me through BC.

The interviews have been great, but the reality is—it needs to make money. I can’t devote that much time otherwise.

I find this transition period for journalism to be fascinating, and exciting. I’m the exact demographic in position to benefit from it.

I learned HTML at 12 years old. Technology has just become cheap enough that anyone can produce HD audio/video content. And I have a mind that loves to figure it out—I learned to edit video and audio on my spare time while in school. I love media theory and all the spin-offs of Marshall McLuhan, and I love the effects of social media.

I worked in sales while in school, and I figured that would be my career, before I discovered journalism.

So it’s all there for me, except the most important part—an editorial team. There is no alternative.

The experience and dedication of quality journalists is necessary. I often say that content can only be as good as it is written. And clear writing comes from clear thought, which requires experience.

So, I am back on the job hunt. I would love nothing more than to contribute to a dedicated team, but the market seems even more flooded than a year ago.

In the meantime, I’m finding ways to keep working. I often say—all that matters is that the work gets done.

I have a few ideas, and I’ll write about them here, once they’re off the ground. The start-up life certainly has some allure.

But, I’ll only do it in order to continue serving journalism—telling true stories, keeping record, forcing accountability, and avoiding cliché. All while sparking the conversations that allow a community to define itself. Some would say there is nothing more important.

All I want is to devote myself fully to this work. I’m just looking for the option that will let me.

Dec. 22, 13

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