Looking back as Newspaper Week ends

Published 3:23 pm Friday, October 11, 2019

As National Newspaper Week comes to a close, I reflected on how my journalism career began.

I remember I was at home watching Judge Judy waiting for it to be time to go to my bartending job when I got the phone call from The People-Sentinel offering me my first job as a journalist.

I was fresh out of college and had spent six months searching for a job in the field I had spent five years learning about.

That one phone call changed the course of my professional career and I was off to South Carolina where I would spend the next three years learning the grit and hustle of a news career. Things that no classroom could ever teach me.

Many moves and papers later here I am in historic Selma, Alabama.

For the past five years, my career has been involved in community journalism. It was different than what I thought it would be. I thought I would do my time on the local level and then move to the state or national level. I was inspired by the Spotlight team of The Boston Globe, Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein of the Washington Post and Terry Gross from NPR after all.

I thought that I would eventually land on that level of coverage and I still could.

However, the local community journalism level has become something that I enjoy.

I’ve met a lot of journalists along the way who continue to be my mentors in this type of work and I saw through their extensive work the difference and impact they can make with their community reporting.

When I accepted the Emerging Journalist Award in 2018 from the Alabama Press Association, I told the audience that what we do is not easy.

There’s a lot that goes on behind the scenes.

It takes a lot of planning, organizing and hard work to put together everything that we do in one week.

For small communities, there is still a lot going on that we have to bring to our readers and that is what drives us – telling the stories of our community that matter to all of you and, trust me,  there are a lot of those out there to tell.

And we wouldn’t have it any other way.