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Five years as a professional journalist

Patrick Davies’ column to the Free Press
Patrick Davies bids farewell to his 2006 Hyundai Santa Fe ‘Streaky’ in this week’s Paper Quips. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)

I’ve been a professional journalist for five years now.

Technically speaking I spent the summer of 2018 working as an intern at the Spruce Grove Examiner, however, I didn’t get a full-time gig until I became the arts and culture writer at the Williams Lake Tribune. I started there five years ago last week.

Looking back at the reporter I was back then is an… interesting experience. I had just moved away from Edmonton leaving behind all my friends and family. Though I had my journalism diploma and some valuable on-the-job experience, I was full of self-doubt.

I remember expressing my concerns, and frankly whining, to my dad over a glass of cider at the Laughing Loon in Williams Lake. My fears were that I wouldn’t be able to find enough stories for the paper every week and that I was biting off more than I could chew. He gave me some fatherly words of encouragement, of course, but it was on me to make this new job work.

Now I can’t say I’ve done a perfect job all the time, but I like to think I’ve grown into the role. These days, coming up with story ideas and completing them is almost second nature. There are some weeks where I have too much to work on, in fact.

My writing itself has improved thanks to the influence of editors like Angie Mindus and Kelly Sinoski. Their suggestions and feedback have reinforced the importance of proper grammar and spelling at all times.

In the same vein, my photography skills have been finely honed. Gone are the days of me being too nervous to ask to take a picture or taking a picture at a wonky angle. Taking photographs is genuinely one of my favourite parts of the job. Capturing candid photos of people expressing joy or going about a daily life is integral to this job, in my opinion.

Over the years I’ve written stories about many people and events. It’s hard to pick favourites, honestly. If I had to, however, I would say stories about community events and the arts is where my passion lies. That’s the kind of activities I loved to go to as a child, so it’s little wonder they inspire me as an adult.

Looking back on the last five years I cringe at some of my mistakes but I’m proud of how far I’ve come. I can’t wait to find out what new ways I can improve in the next five years.


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Patrick Davies

About the Author: Patrick Davies

An avid lover of theatre, media, and the arts in all its forms, I've enjoyed building my professional reputation in 100 Mile House.
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