Com­mu­nity news­pa­pers con­nect with the peo­ple

The Compass - - SPORTS -

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.jenk­

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