I was one of the first to graduate from Wilson in 2013 with a degree in Equine Journalism. At the time, I wanted this degree because it was a way for me to keep horses in my life. I thought writing about them and then being able to continue riding my horse was going to be perfect. However, I soon found myself not wanting to leave the area in which I grew up and had to expand my horizons.
That is how I ended up at my current position.
I work for a small daily paper in Lewistown called “The Lewistown Sentinel.” The amazing thing is that while I hardly write about horses, I write other interesting stories on a daily basis.
I am the municipal government reporter, the police/breaking news reporter, and the agriculture reporter, and editor. I also put together the daily calendar, the advice page, type up briefs, and layout our free weekend edition called “Neighbors.” My days can be pretty busy at times.
Every day I come to work and know that while some things are the same, something different is always bound to happen. That is where my Wilson experience kicks in. I know it is hard to believe but I truly do use the liberal arts education to make my days at my job easier.
The late nights writing stories and papers on deadline to get them to Kim and Robin, the Billboard advisors, or whichever professor I was writing for at the time, has come in handy more times than I will care to admit.
I can remember one time in particular, two years ago, when I was covering a multi-unit fire. It was a day that I had a regularly scheduled meeting and then an open house at our one ambulance company. I was going to the open house to schedule a “Day-in-the-life” story as part of series when the call for the fire came in.
Using my Wilson experience to know this sounded bad and watching the reaction of the EMTs I called my editor. At this point it was around 6:30 p.m. They wanted me to meet the other reporter and a photographer on the scene. I was heading out following two ambulances when I saw the dark cloud of smoke. All I had with me was my reflective vest, phone, and a camera. I was at the fire until about 11 p.m. when my editor finally told me to come back to the office and write my story. Our deadline for our daily edition is typically 11 p.m. but because I was using social media tools, my boss had a lot of the story written for me.
It was a night that I was able to truly use all of my experience from Wilson all at once. I was able to come back, sit, and focus. While at the scene I was able to interact with people who were losing their homes, those who were watching it from their homes, and the first responders who were resting before going back at it.
So when someone tells you that you should write your story, or paper, or complete a project early, they are probably right. However, there will be a time that being able to write and focus in a crunched deadline will come in handy.
Never in a million years did I think I would enjoy doing these kinds of things on a daily basis. I think I enjoy it more than writing about horses every day.
I thank my Wilson faculty and teachers for what they taught me.