Community newspapers connect with the people
I have always enjoyed the news.
I follow municipal, provincial, national and even international stories. But like many members of the population, I am drawn to the most prominent stories that spread like wildfire through social media.
In the past few weeks, The Telegram — the provincial daily newspaper also owned by TC Media — contained stories about people who received lifesaving blood transfusions for multiple reasons. These are stories I may not have read if I hadn’t been working here at The Compass.
These stories touched home for me because I was a blood recipient ( five units) when I was 13. The situations surrounding my experience were much different from Taylor Jackson of South Dildo and Jill Snow from St. John’s, but the message is the same — blood donations saved our lives.
These stories are not the average stories a person will read from viral postings on the Internet. Some may not even be reported by other media until a community newspaper sheds some light on it first.
These stories are touching, emotion- fi l led and personal accounts, something you are likely to find in a community or provincial newspaper, especially in a province like Newfoundland with some close-knit communities.
Although I sometimes cry after reading a sad or happy story in one of our 13 community papers across the province, I love to feel like I’ve stepped into the lives of those who have experienced a unique and sometimes heroic experience. I feel like I ’ve met these people and can empathize with their situation. The same after I interview someone, and feel like I’ve come to know them already.
That is the model I have been following when writing my articles every week — bringing readers into the story.
I am humbled when someone approaches me at the grocery store and tells me they felt like they were inside my article or they empathize with the subject or topic I wrote about. That is my goal. My editor explained to me during my first few weeks here how important it is to make a story colourful — make sure the story has trimmings, and not just meat and potatoes.
I really enjoy working at a community newspaper.
Getting to the grassroots of a community, unveiling stories no one else can and giving the community a weekly view into the lives of so many of our local residents is why I am satisfied with the job I do.
— Melissa Jenkins is a reporter/photographer with The Compass newspaper in Carbonear and
can be reached at Melissa.email@example.com.