It has been a whirlwind of a first year in the newsroom.
This time last year I was offered the journalist position at The Examiner that I had applied for. The process was not an easy one: going through two interviews to be told COVID-19 had halted the hiring process. When I got the call a few months later about hiring going ahead again, I was ecstatic. I went for my third interview and within a few days, my life changed.
I won't lie, I was shocked when I was offered the position. I believed I could do the job (I had been at university studying for four years for this after all), but between COVID-19 and job cuts at various media organisations, the offer was surprising. I, of course, accepted immediately and I haven't looked back since.
A COVID-19 world was the new normal. Though I was not in the newsroom when COVID-19 first appeared, it was strange coming into a newsroom where most of the staff were still working from home. It felt too silent.
There was relief when it became normal to be back in the office. I got to create friendships with work colleagues that I know I will treasure for a lifetime. I had the opportunity to be mentored by some incredible journalists. I was able to integrate myself in the Launceston community - after moving from Hobart - and develop key contacts.
Becoming a journalist at a paper I had respected for a long time was a dream come true. I was offered the arts and what's on round very early on in the piece which suited me perfectly. With my love of theatre, passion for arts, and enjoyment of events, the role felt like it was made for me.
I have made the round mine the past year. Highlights include talking to the legendary Jimmy Barnes, campaigning for theatre and events restrictions to ease, profiles on local talent who have done incredible things within the arts space, attending local festivals, meeting creative people like Tyran Parke, and so much more.
But, the stories I cover aren't always easy to write and soon enough my first major fatality story was upon me. The triple fatality on the Midland Highway was heartbreaking. A solar panel became dislodged from a caravan being towed by a car and fell into the oncoming traffic lane. As a result, a car took evasive action to avoid the panel but lost control and collided with the car travelling behind the caravan.
A 48-year-old male driver and father, a 15-year-old girl and front seat passenger, and a 71-year-old female who was the aunt of the driver and a rear passenger died in the crash.
You don't realise how hard those facts are to hear until you are faced with having to see or hear it. Then the photos of the crash scene came. That was a pivotal time in my journalism career. It was the first real moment I had experienced which showed me my job would not always be easy, but I also knew in that moment how dedicated I was to the job.
Fast forward to a year later, and I feel like a different person. My writing style has changed, my thought processes have altered, I no longer feel like an imposter, and I don't get nervous walking into the newsroom. Journalism is a passion that is 24/7. The news cycle doesn't stop, the demands of the job are high, and hours can be long. But, I wouldn't change that. The world I am a part of does what it can to help the community, bring light to issues, and give a voice to those who need it.
The best advice I can give to those considering a career in journalism is be ready to take on any story, and be ready for the way the industry will change your life. Here's to the next year The Examiner, what do you have in store for me?