I found my way to the Daily Forty-Niner newsroom by going down a dark and mysterious stairway I never knew existed in the Social Science/Public Administration building. Barb Kingsley-Wilson, one of my first journalism professors, led me to the dungeon after I expressed interest in broadcast.
It was there that I met a small but mighty crew in the newsroom creating a new video section, Beach News. I learned how to shoot, edit and produce my own news segments and newscasts with green screens, low-tech cameras (We later upgraded!) and Final Cut Pro.
My stories then were surprisingly similar to the ones I tell today: about community, politics, diversity. I even told a few stories in Spanish through Beach News en Español! I recently searched through the archives of the Daily 49er Youtube channel and am simultaneously proud and embarrassed of my work (Oh those cheesy reporter stand-ups!).
While I produced video content I also got to write for the paper, at times converting my video stories into print content. Over time, my interest in doing journalism grew across all platforms.
One of my favorite print stories was when I was asked to follow a group of Reserve Officers’ Training Corp students on their weekend trip to Camp Pendleton. I took photos and talked to students from various Southern California colleges who were there for the weekend. I slept in bunk beds with them, ate MREs with them and even joined in some of their training.
Regrettably, I did not fully comprehend social media back then or about building your voice. It was 2010-11 and still a few years before any of us would fully understand and appreciate the madness that is Twitter. And was Instagram even a thing back then? Who knows.
I can honestly say, though, that working for the Daily Forty-Niner was as much a real job for me as any other position in the industry. I learned so much and am thankful for the guidance I received along the way. It really is how they say: you get out what you put in.