How did it get to be summer already?
It doesn’t seem like all that long ago I was coming through the door way back in November for my first day of work as a staffer and not a freelancer for Black Press.
Since November, I’ve lost track of how many columns, stories, and features I’ve written. I’ve lost track of how many meetings I’ve sat through, how many events I’ve covered and how many photos I’ve taken.
In that time, I’ve really come to learn a few things about my job, my role in it, and been able to leave my mark.
First, I love my job and I feel blessed every day to be able to do it. It is a job that is meaningful and adds something to the community.
Second, this job has significantly helped my mental health. I won’t rehash the mental health struggles I’ve faced since I left the ambulance, but I will say that for me writing has been something of a catharsis and in the five years that I was writing as a freelancer my health improved significantly, though it was not without troubles. Still, going into summer 2022, I know something is working because I am rapidly approaching two years since my last mental health related hospital admission. Since 2013 until now, the longest streak I had was 18 months.
The third thing I’ve found isn’t as positive though: the news can be ugly. In the time since I have become a staff reporter, I have found myself having to cover things and write about things I would rather not have to. I know some of the things I have written about or placed in the paper from other sources have had an emotional impact on me, as I am sure they have had an impact on at least some of the readers.
The thing is, I can’t not-publish something just because it may be upsetting to some. Believe me, there are things I would rather not have to cover. There are things I would rather not have to publish. I’m also pretty sure if those stories stir those emotions in me, they will do so in others. It means some people will be hurt. It means some people will be disappointed. At the end of the day, I have a job to do and in an era of “fake news” and media distrust the best way I can fight those things is by presenting the news as it is, warts and all.
One thing that has helped me along the way is developing a thicker skin. I know I can’t please everybody, and I know some people will be unhappy regardless of what I do. Regardless, I take pride in writing things in as fair and balanced a way as possible, sort of how I’m trying to live my life.
The job has kept me busy since I started, but I’m working on not letting it consume me. I’m making more time to continue my studies, spend with my wife, and exercise. That balanced news writing has allowed me to succeed on the job, and the balanced life has allowed me to succeed at home.
It’s been tough, at times, keeping up with the pace I have but I have loved every minute of it so far and look forward to doing it for a long time to come.