What's your dream job?
What’s your dream job?
Being an astronaut? A police officer? A doctor? An electrician?
My dream job is being a journalist. I’ve been living that dream here at the Journal-Tribune since May 2017. And this summer, I’ll be living it at the state’s largest daily newspaper.
Friends, I’m excited to announce that I have started a summer reporting internship at The Oklahoman. My first day on the job was May 26, and it’s been a wild ride since then.
I’ve been preparing for this opportunity since early January, when one phone call from an editor at that paper changed my whole world. After The Oklahoman published some of my work in December and January, I was given the opportunity to work there for the entire summer. And I gladly took it.
Thanks to the generous folks at the paper, I’ll be learning from some of the best journalists in the Sooner State. It’s the opportunity of a lifetime for me, and I’m already soaking up so much valuable knowledge from the reporters and editors there.
Thank God my internship started when it did. The last two weeks couldn’t have been any more newsworthy.
My first big story for the paper was a feature on Jed and Tammy Jarvis, who used to live right here in Blackwell. Both of them caught the coronavirus, but they had very different experiences with it. Tammy had a headache and a cough, but she never ran a fever. She was over the virus in a couple of weeks after taking some medicine for it. But Jed wasn’t so lucky. He was in a hospital for 33 days, and he was intubated multiple times. He spent those 33 days fighting for his life.
The pandemic has been the biggest news event of the year – and arguably one of the biggest news events of the century. Then May 25 arrived.
On that day, a black man in Minneapolis, Minnesota named George Floyd was killed by a white police officer. The killing sparked protests and riots across the nation. Some were peaceful, and others were not.
Those events even broke out in Oklahoma City. On Saturday and Sunday, protesters took to the streets to, in their words, advocate for social change and combat alleged police brutality. I was able to cover Sunday’s protests, which were mostly peaceful.
Throughout the day, protesters sang gospel songs, chanted together, and carried signs paying tribute to Floyd. But in the evening, a number of protesters left. Some of those who remained began throwing rocks at police officers and shooting fireworks towards them. Police fired at least three rounds of tear gas at the protesters.
Being at a protest was unlike anything I’ve ever experienced before. I was clearly identified as a member of the press, and I wore a mask to protect myself not only from tear gas, but also from the spread of the coronavirus.
I was able to learn a lot from the veteran reporters at The Oklahoman on Sunday night alone. Reporters have to be bold when in pursuit of the truth, but we also have to be safe. And we have to have enough empathy to listen to what people are saying, no matter who they are or what they believe in.
I am so grateful to have this opportunity. I have a lot of wonderful people to thank for it — my friends, teachers, mentors, and family members, all of whom encourage me to do my best and exceed the limits of my comfort zone. I love them with all of my heart. I wouldn’t be here without them.
Included in that list are my coworkers here at the J-T. They’ve given me a rewarding career in community journalism and the ability to try new things, fail, and try again. That’s important, and I thank them for being there for me.
I can’t thank the people at The Oklahoman enough for allowing me to come into their world for the summer. They’re the best of the best. I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to fill their shoes, but I’m going to follow in their footsteps. I can’t wait to be mentored by them!
I’ll be staying in Edmond for most of the summer, but to my lovely readers and friends in Blackwell, don’t worry: I’ll continue to report for the Journal-Tribune like always. It’s not any different from when I’m in college. I can do a lot of my work remotely, and I will make trips back home when I need to. After all, if I don’t come visit enough, I’ll never hear the end of it from mom and dad.
I’ve still got my finger on the pulse of the community – and especially on our local government. It’s going to stay there. I’ll stop at nothing to hold our public officials to account.
And I’ll be bringing the great skills I learn at The Oklahoman right back here to the Journal-Tribune.
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