This particular issue of the Dawson Trail Dispatch is a big one for me – I have officially completed fifteen years as a freelance news writer for the southeast region. It sounds like a life sentence (and sometimes it has felt that way) but it has been an amazing experience.
When I walked into the office years ago, Dan Guetre – editor and publisher extraordinaire – was not too impressed with what he saw or heard. With only a grade 10 education and never having a real job I had no previous writing, publishing or journalism experience. I also didn’t own a computer or camera and as a mother of four, my hands were full to say the least.
If someone told me that I would still be here fifteen years later, I would have laughed at them. Now, I am not laughing – I take my responsibility as a reporter very seriously. It is a thankless profession sometimes but the overall personal satisfaction of making a positive difference in lives and communities makes it worth while.
To have people trust a journalist with their stories is humbling and a rarity. Many people hear “reporter” and they run away screaming. Thankfully I have only had that response once or twice. For the most part, people enjoy talking to me and I enjoy listening to them.
In the past fifteen years, I have learned so much about this region. I have learned what people are passionate about, what they detest; what keeps communities or businesses flourishing and what kills them. I have learned to understand politics and what wins (or loses) elections.
I have been touched by many examples of extra-ordinary human spirit; families who keep smiling after a devastating loss, people fighting for what they believe; people sacrificing everything to make a difference to someone else – I have met many ordinary, everyday heroes in one form or another.
If the phones did not ring and the emails did not get sent, we would not be spreading your news. Thank you for trusting me with your stories and for making a difference in MY life.
In the past fifteen years, I have strived to be good at what I do. Your stories continue to inspire and encourage me to be the best I can be. I went back to school and earned my grade 12 diploma (and a few other diplomas). I published my first book (my life story) Finding Gloria which recently hit over 3,000 downloads across the world, and am busy working on my next project which will feature YOUR stories (more on that at a later date).
It all started here.
Thank you to Dan for teaching me, mentoring and pushing me and not kicking me out of the office fifteen years ago. Most of all, thank you to our readers for including me in your lives and being part of my personal journey.