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COLUMN: Seven years in full-time journalism

I'm writing this column on what is the seven-year anniversary of my first day working in journalism full-time.

I'm writing this column on what is the seven-year anniversary of my first day working in journalism full-time. On May 2, 2016, I started my one-year tenure as the news editor of the Gauntlet, which is the University of Calgary's student-run newspaper.

Technically, that job was only considered part-time, in the sense the expectation was to work 30 to 35 hours a week while still balancing a partial course load. But I'm positive I put in more than that during my time as news editor.

I still remember when I interviewed for the Gauntlet news editor position, I was asked why I was interested in the role. I responded that I wanted to work in journalism after graduating from my communications degree, but didn't think I'd be able to land a job in the industry, considering I wasn't in journalism school. I figured a year working for the Gauntlet would be the closest thing I got in that regard, and also be a good way to pad my portfolio. 

Fast forward seven years from that job interview, I am proud to say I've managed to overcome my initial pessimistic prediction and maintain employment in an industry that has been wrought with challenges. After graduating from university, I was able to leverage my experience writing for the Gauntlet into my first post-university reporting job for a newspaper on Vancouver Island. After a year there, I landed back in Alberta, and I am now approaching my five-year anniversary of working for both the Airdrie City View and our sister paper, the Rocky View Weekly. 

In addition to working in journalism full-time for seven years, next November will mark the 10-year anniversary of my first news article, which I also wrote for the Gauntlet. I can still remember how nervous I was when I conducted that very first interview – with the U of C's Dean of Arts, Dr. Richard Sigurdson – for that assignment, and how many hours I spent painfully crafting that piece. 

I was 19 years old when I wrote that first article, and pretty soon I'll be turning 30. In many ways, my 20s have been shaped by working as a journalist. I've written thousands of articles, taken thousands of photos, and conducted thousands of interviews. It's through journalism that I met my wife and made many friends and colleagues. 

People often ask me what it's like to work as a journalist, and it's never easy for me to give a short answer. Like any profession, there are both highs and lows, and pros and cons. The high of publishing an article you're proud of can quickly be replaced by the low of a hurtful comment – or even worse, a total lack of comments or reader engagement. 

But I wouldn't trade the last seven years for anything. I'm extremely pleased with the path journalism has forged for me. 

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