When I was in school, I first got a degree in sociology from the University of Calgary. I began writing for sociology newspapers and found that I loved writing stories.
I enjoyed writing papers for sociology but I could not see it turning into a tangible career path, so I switched to journalism. I loved to write stories and interact with many different people.
In journalism, I knew right away that I wanted to be a journalist for a career. From there I chose Mount Royal because I heard about their program. My friend, who is a couple years ahead of me, really enjoyed the courses. The university was in Calgary, so it was an easy choice.
After university, I got my first job as a reporter at the Cochrane Eagle. It was a cool experience, everyone there was friendly, but it was a small town newspaper. I had to write many stories about Show-and-Shines and Diaper Derbies.
One of the things I learned at a small newspaper was how to write news stories fast. It was crazy how many I wrote compared to my time in school. It was a steep learning curve but it was a great experience for a first job.
Switching workloads at first, it was crazy. We were a weekly publication. I remember at first having to work every night and day to keep up. However, as you go, you learn techniques to save time. It was a shock going from three stories a semester to 15 stories a week. The paper was community-based; Cochrane is a cool area because they are stuck between a small town appearance and a fast-growing sleeper community. The area has a lot of history and it was interesting how everyone knew each other.
The plus side of working in Cochrane was being able to drive from Calgary every day. I did not live in the town, but I got the tight-knit community feeling from my job.
During my last year of the journalism program, I was in a class where you could choose any interactive topic. You could make a website or use a studio. My partner — Anna Brooks — and I created a story on the sex trade in Alberta. We made a documentary and interactive site that was awesome. The project got many awards. We thought it would give us a path into writing for huge publications like the Globe and Mail. However, I ended up writing for Cochrane Eagle Newspaper.
I enjoyed writing for the Cochrane Eagle, but I felt there was something bigger for me in journalism. I realized getting a job for a big publication was not going to come easily. When I saw how hard it was to be in that circle of journalists, I wanted something different.
When I applied, I tried big publications but they never worked out. Therefore, I tried for a job in marketing and I was accepted. However, the same day I got the marketing job the Metro newspaper offered me a position. I was already committed to the marketing company, so I turned the newspaper down.
The aspect I love about my job is that I get to do something different every day. I can be working on photography one day, and setting up huge multi-million [dollar] ads to run for a good cause.
A couple new skills I acquired was public speaking, more information on social media and marketing techniques. In marketing, you focus more on one side of story compared to journalism.
I learned a lot about storytelling in marketing; in journalism, I feel it is not as prominent. However, in marketing, you have to be able to tell good stories.
The biggest challenges I faced was the workload for marketing and researching about people. The job takes up a lot of your time and finding out how to connect with different groups is hard.
It is important to have a work to life balance but I feel if you are passionate about something all those long hours are going to something meaningful in the end.
As told to Shaunda Lamont. This interview has been edited and condensed.
Editor: Andrea Fulton | firstname.lastname@example.org