Six years ago, my son and I were given the honor of performing the national anthem at Boston GreenFest, an event about how to create a more sustainable world. My son sang, and I accompanied him on the piano. Afterward, a local news reporter interviewed us.
Not too long after that, the same reporter showed up to a meeting of the Foxboro Rotary Club, where I’m a member. He recognized me. After observing that I’m a very social person, he asked if I had any potential leads for him. I gave him five story ideas that he ended up writing. He was impressed and asked if I would like to meet his manager for a job interview.
I had no journalism experience. But I was hired. I think the manager liked how blunt and honest I was. He saw that I had potential. He gave me my first assignment that very day: a story about the YMCA and Rotary Club hosting a free soccer clinic for kids. I had no idea what I was doing. I interviewed way too many people and wrote way too many words. I spent a very long time writing the article. More time than I would ever spend on a story today. Now, I work on very short deadlines.
All of my training has been on the job. I submit my draft, and my editor cleans it up. In the beginning, about 50 percent of what I wrote got changed. I studied the changes to figure out what I could do better. Now, I would say only about 5 percent or less of my original story gets rewritten. These days, I also take photographs for my stories. I learned that on the job, too. I usually write a dozen articles a month, but one time I did 23. To date, I’ve written over 500 articles.
I usually cover human-interest stories as a feature correspondent. I like highlighting the lives of people, showing how they got to where they are, why they are passionate, and why it’s important for them to make the world a better place. But I also have covered hard news. For example, there was recently a shooting, and I was at the crime scene an hour after it happened.
One assignment that was very meaningful to me was about sexual assault. I interviewed three women survivors from India, Nigeria, and Guatemala. As a survivor of child sex abuse myself, it was difficult for me, but I felt it was important to bring attention to these crimes.
I love being a journalist because it’s an opportunity to make change and open up some conversation, especially around social issues that people are not aware of. I can advocate for other people through my journalism and amplify voices and combat some of the challenges we face in our modern-day society.
That said, my number-one job right now is raising my children and providing them the best life I possibly can. When they get older and more independent, I think I want to try being a flight attendant. I love traveling. I’m open to whatever life brings.