Many people have been asking me how my new job is going, since I moved back up North and started working as a journalist at The Daily Press.
One word describes my experience so far - amazing. In the short few months since I started at the Press, I think I've learned more than I have my entire life.
The pace of a daily newspaper is so much quicker than in my freelancing days, and often I'll look up after being at the office for what seems like minutes to find it's 4:00 in the afternoon.
The people I've met, both in the newsroom and on the street have been so warm and welcoming and lovely. Everyone is so willing to teach, to help. Most people can't wait to tell their stories. And what amazing stories I've heard.
What's great about my job is that if I ever wonder about something (How does fish stocking work? How is gold made? Are comedians funny in "real life?") I can just set up an interview, ask my questions, take a couple of photos, and write about it. My job is basically talking to people, writing down what they say, going back to the office, and trying to find a creative way to get their tale out to the world (ok, out to Timmins and surrounding area.)
This Earth Day, my first assignment involved taking some photos of some students picking up garbage at a local conservation area. I later visited a dairy farm for an article I wrote about agriculture in Northern Ontario, and spent the afternoon walking around the farm, chatting with a farmer and taking pictures of cows. Realizing suddenly what time it was, I quickly stripped off my coveralls and drove into town to meet the Minister of Community and Social Services at the opening of a new women's shelter. It was only after I shook her hand and chatted with her for a while that I noticed the slight stench of cow manure and litter.
It was only recently that the freedom, flexibility, and just total awesome-ness of my job hit me.
Assigned a story on a circus coming through town, I made arrangements to interview the elephant trainer backstage. Standing behind an arena, on a beautiful sunny day, an Asian elephant named Limba sauntered over and sniffed me gently with her massive trunk. Later, as she plucked jelly beans from my hand (as I screamed a little inside) I realized my job totally freaking rocks.
All in a day's work.