Some people might refer to me as a late bloomer – I prefer the term “seasoned.”
After working for a tech startup for eight years, I embarked on a journey into the realm of low pay but endless rewards for my work and its impact on communities. I became a journalist.
My journey began at Stony Brook University, where I enrolled in the School of Journalism. During my time at the university, I learned how to research, use photography, video, and other technologies to tell stories, and chase down issues to keep people abreast of what was going on. I also took chemistry, biology, physics, mathematics, and other courses including a lesson on 18th century feminism that focused on Jane Austin. While all these classes taught me a great deal, they did not teach me how to write.
After graduating, I cast resume after resume seeking a job in digital journalism without a single bite, until eventually, I got a call from the Southampton Press. A short and stocky fellow with long hair named Joe Shaw hired me under one condition: I take the first year to learn how to write. After that, I was expected to fly on my own, and I did. I quickly became a senior reporter, chasing down beats like the police, town, village, and environmental issues.
I wrote for the Southampton Press for nearly five years, and then like many, I was furloughed because of the covid-19 pandemic.
The best thing I did during the pandemic was continue my education through Quinnipiac
University’s Interactive Media and Communications graduate school program. The program’s courses added more tools to my chest, including animation, content strategy and development, social media, visual design.
Toward the end of my time at Quinnipiac, I was hired by the print publication, Ocean City Today. The editor there, Stuart Dobson, is an Eastern Shore local who spent most of his life on the Delmarva peninsula. Stuart is old school, but so far, he has been a terrific mentor. After nearly three months with the publication, Stuart has started to lean on me to put a digital strategy in place to help take the newspaper into the digital realm and reach even more demographics.
At one point in my life, I felt like a rudderless ship just floating with no direction, yet ever since going into journalism, the destination of becoming a great storyteller has remained constant.
I think it would be nice to continue working as a reporter, but I also believe I have a bigger calling – one that brings my experience with the tech startup full circle with my journalistic storytelling skills.
Becoming a digital content strategist with the skillset of a jack-of-all-trades is just the next step of this journey, which is never ending.