Es­tab­lish­ing my iden­tity as a com­mu­nity jour­nal­ist

The Compass - - COMMUNITY BOARD -

Af­ter my first col­umn was pub­lished June 4 along­side my photo, I was no longer just a name on a page. I had an iden­tity in the news­pa­per world.

I was of­fi­cially viewed as some­one with an­swers, some­one that could be trusted in the eyes of the pub­lic.

With that iden­tity came a large amount of re­spon­si­bil­ity.

I could no longer walk down the street with­out some­one rec­og­niz­ing me, men­tion­ing they read my ar­ti­cles or that they had a great story for me to fol­low up on. Peo­ple spoke to me as if they have known me for years, al­though some­times we met only mo­ments be­fore.

The re­spon­si­bil­ity on my shoul­ders was greater than I imag­ined, but I con­tin­ued to take my job in stride.

When­ever I com­pleted an ar­ti­cle, I would think of how read­ers would re­act to it and how it would help shape me as a bud­ding jour­nal­ist.

I al­ways sec­ond-guess my­self. As soon as I fin­ish an ar­ti­cle, I read it. I read it again. Then I read it a third time and ask my­self if it’s good enough and will peo­ple en­joy it.

Those ar­ti­cles will con­tinue to define me more elab­o­rately each and ev­ery week.

I still strug­gle with the iden­tity that this job has cre­ated for me, but I am do­ing my best to keep up with it and main­tain a re­la­tion­ship with it.

It can be dif­fi­cult to find the bal­ance be­tween what I am and who I am.

• Melissa the im­par­tial re­porter, thor­ough jour­nal­ist and de­vel­op­ing pho­tog­ra­pher at The Com­pass or;

• Melissa the out­spo­ken and opin­ion­ated, yet of­ten an­noy­ing, Car­bon­ear res­i­dent.

Since tak­ing on my role, I have learned a valu­able les­son; I can­not find the bal­ance be­tween what I am and who I am be­cause they are onein-the-same.

This is some­thing I will carry with me through­out my ca­reer, know­ing that what I do and don’t do ev­ery day will build my char­ac­ter and mould my iden­tity, and that scares me.

The hard­est part is know­ing any­thing can change who I am in the eyes of my read­ers, but it will hope­fully help me grow into a bet­ter jour­nal­ist. Melissa is a re­porter/pho­tog­ra­pher at

The Com­pass News­pa­per

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