I’ve been working for the 100 Mile Free Press for just over a year now this month.
It’s an anniversary that, at the start of 2020, I hardly would have expected to be celebrating. At the time I was working for the Williams Lake Tribune and loving it, as my current coworkers are keen to tease me about. The most I knew about 100 Mile House was that it was a small town that I would pass through on my way to Kamloops. I rarely stopped then but I’ve since realized that while 100 Mile House is certainly small, it’s quite lively, even during a pandemic.
Working at the 100 Mile Free Press has been a real test of my skills and a great learning experience for a young punk like myself. While the basics of the job: take photos, interview people and write a story, are fairly simple to me, I found myself suddenly thrown into the deep end. Within the course of a week, I went from a cushy job writing arts in Williams Lake to working remotely for the Free Press and have been go-go-go ever since.
Starting in a new community as a journalist is always a challenge. It takes time to build professional and personal connections and to find good stories. Not living in the community is more of a hindrance than a help, which is why journalists tend to move to where the work is.
In the midst of a pandemic, it felt like a downright Herculean effort to start working at the Free Press, but I was determined to keep my job. Thankfully, the Free Press team gave me a tremendous amount of support, suggesting story ideas and filling in the extensive gaps in my community knowledge. As time went on and the temporary transfer became permanent, they even helped me find a place to live.
I’ve been living here for about seven months now and have become more familiar with 100 Mile House. In my job, I’m being pushed to be the best journalist I can be and while I had never intended to move to this town, I feel working here has been good for my career and helped me to grow as a journalist.
As I begin a new year at the Free Press, I’m hoping I get the chance to know the community even better and to refine my skills even further. As the pandemic comes to an end, I’m especially looking forward to covering all those community events I keep hearing about and truly understand this town and its people.