[Originally written Mar. 6, 2013 to provide an update to my friends/colleagues/profs at Thompson RIvers University]
Hello Sports fans!
Well, actually that’s a pretty accurate way to start off describing my first week as the newest reporter for the Castlegar News.
This beautiful West Kootenay community has some of the warmest, most welcoming people I’ve ever met and to say they are hockey fans would be a gross understatement. The KIJHL Rebels and BCIHL Saints are two very good (league-leading) hockey teams and I’ve had to get up to speed on that quickly. There are also minor teams here just as impressive heading to playoffs and provincial championships. Heck, the Jr. Girls basketball team just won the West Kootenay championship.
But I digress…it hasn’t all been about sports.
I found out I had the job on a Friday and was working in the office three days later. It’s good to be flexible… I’ve met city staff, councillors, hospital board executives, the RCMP Sergeant, business owners galore (at a Spring expo) and many more interesting folks in my first week. Open yourself up, explain you’re new and it’s amazing how most people will warm up to you.
I can only speak to what it’s like to be hired at a small-town newspaper… and it’s a first for me other than my internship.
The hiring process took a couple of weeks as emails went back and forth and two telephone interviews were conducted. One with the editor and another with the publisher joining in. I provided them with writing samples, photography samples and, of course, my resumé.
Today was day eight for me and, with the paper coming out tomorrow, I was asked to help with layout. Maybe I’m strange but I found it rewarding to do layout for my own writing and photos.
It’s important to know InDesign and Photoshop if you don’t already… they are two of the more common publishing platforms used in the industry. With a good tutor (like I had today in my editor) you can pick up the skills pretty quickly. Better yet, take a full-on class and add that to your list of “here’s what I can do for you…” I sure wish I had. They knew where I was at with InDesign and were very understanding and willing to get me up to speed. I’ll try to pick it up as fast as I can.
I’ve had plenty of “first days on the job” and they always give me butterflies. It was no different here but I’m finally starting to feel more comfortable.
If at all possible, negotiate a little time to make a move to a new town. It’s a big undertaking and one that will likely tax your energy level. I keep reminding myself to be open-minded, open to whatever comes and to try and eat well. Not always easy living out of a suitcase/motel.
I hope to find a permanent place in the next two weeks or so. Then, I know, it will be easier to get into a routine (something important to me) and start developing my skills further.
One last thing about hours – it’s easy to do nothing but reporting 24/7. Really easy. Take some breaks and breathe… my publisher has been excellent about giving me tips on managing my time. Balance is important. I can’t divulge pay, benefits, etc. but I’m being treated fairly and we have a nice office, nice lunchroom and incredible views out the window.
This is why I went back to TRU. To retrain in a new career and do something fresh… and fresh it is!
(I did mention it snowed heavily for a good chunk of the day here, didn’t I?)
I’m looking forward to seeing many of you in Kamloops, mid-June for graduation!
Best of luck to all of you and to those I know, please keep in touch; I’m always impressed when I read, watch or hear your work.