It reminded me how important local newspapers are to a community
I arrived in Clarenville on a cold winter night in December, 2012. One month before I was living in London, UK, one of the world’s biggest and busiest cities, and with my visa expiring, I was happy to find a job in journalism back home in Newfoundland.
I had worked in Gander with the Beacon years before, so being a community reporter in a small town was nothing new to me. I moved into my Bayview Road apartment and was happy to discover out my window there was a seaside view of the bay. I spent my first Friday night taking photos of the moon reflecting off the water over Random Island. The lights from the homes on the island were just barely visible over the sound.
Over the next few months I got to know Clarenville and the region by talking to its people – the fishermen, politicians, police, teachers, students, retirees, cashiers, construction workers, and whoever else was willing to speak to a reporter with pages to fill. The best way to learn about a town or city is to be a reporter, because you get to ask questions you would never normally ask people you would never normally speak to.
Working with the Packet reminded me how important local newspapers are to a small community. If your community council is not doing what you want it to do, you can make your voice heard by contacting your local paper. There is no point in having elections if the people elected aren’t responsible to the people who voted for them. It was really satisfying to play a small part in making a community work. Then there were the friends I made and the times we had together. Throwing the baseball around at lunch break with Chris the sports reporter, starting an open mic with Kevin, watching the 2014 Olympic gold medal hockey game with Jonathan, talking about Newfoundland politics with Barb. These were great times that made me happy to be there.
Everything happens for a reason. I came to the Packet pretty desperate for whatever kind of journalism work I could get. Over the next two years I learned skills that made me a better professional, did a job I believed in and made some memories that I’ll keep with me forever.