Lessons in journalism

I started my final school year off as a fresh face at the paper as a part of my work experience program

I started my final school year off as a fresh face at the paper as a part of my work experience program after having my mind set on experiencing firsthand what it’s like working as a journalist.

After many long days in the office and a plethora of overly educated conversations in which I found myself floundering for an intelligent opinion that would match that of my co-workers with much more wisdom in the field, I realized that, yes, I still carry my passion for writing. Working with the staff at the paper has enlightened me to an entire world of writing that I was eager to explore. Although there were days when I would have much rather stayed in the office than freeze my toes off getting an “inside look” at what field work looks like as a journalist, I have learned a lot about writing from this experience.

My first day on the job, I had my first unsuccessful day in the field. After a solid hour of asking a riveting question for The Street Beat, I had very little to bring back to show for the unsuccessful effort I had put in and, to be honest, I was almost turned off the job.

I came back to the office with my head hung and was given the OK to head home earlier than I had expected. For the first time since I had set my mind on the job, I was sure I wasn’t a fit. But after getting back into it, Nicole (Trigg, editor) brought me with her to see her do an interview at Abel Creek and to say that it was cold would be an understatement! We walked the ways down to the stream and stood through an interview, fingers and toes freezing in the process. Despite the weather, sitting in on the interview was a much-needed push to get me motivated again. I did more than just writing, which was not originally planned on my part, as I had very little photography skills to start off with. I loved getting to be behind the camera and see just what people had been eagerly showing me in the workplace since I had arrived.  I worked one day a week at the paper, for a grand total of 86 hours in the 13 weeks that I was there, but nevertheless felt like a solid member of the team and had many firsts during my placement. There were definitely many awkward and uncomfortable phone calls to contacts across the country that I would have never been able to make without the push of the people around me, and I am grateful for the chance to get feedback from people who devote their lives to something that I share a love for.

My idea of what I expected from my time at the paper was definitely off, having much more communication to do in the job than writing itself, which was a big surprise for me, but my passion for writing has continued throughout my placement. Although I’m not sure whether I would last a day on my own in the field, I have learned that there is a lot more to the job than just writing. Ive learned, much to my dismay with my normally shy personality, that interaction and gaining contacts is 90% of the job. However, I still hold firm in my decision to continue with writing in one form or the other in the future and have appreciated the warm welcome and feedback from both the staff at the paper and the community.

Caitlin Fuller is a Grade 12 David Thompson Secondary School student.