I was a journalism student and did my internship with the Mount Royal International Education [The Office of International Education at Mount Royal University]. They have students that come in during the summer for an English as a second language program and I was their cultural activities leader. It wasn’t really journalism but it was fun.
I went on the India Field School after my first year of university. Summer of third year I did a semester in New Zealand. I took some journalism classes there, so I got to learn a little bit about journalism in other countries. That was pretty cool.
I applied for everywhere you could possibly think of in Calgary that had job openings and some smaller towns in central Alberta. The Pincher Creek Echo was the first job I got. I started off as the intern and then I got the job as a reporter, then a couple months later I got a job as the editor. I was there for a year almost to the day.
I felt in Pincher Creek that I had learned everything I had because I didn’t have a mentor. I just had to figure it out on my own. At first it was really challenging, then I felt like I got a handle on it and so I wanted to go somewhere where I could learn from somebody else.
Campbell River, [B.C.] was appealing to me because it’s on Vancouver Island and I have an aunt and uncle that live here. I knew that the next place that I moved was going be near the ocean.
Right now I’m at the Campbell River Mirror and I’m a multimedia journalist. We kind of run as a daily newspaper. I have a two-story-a-day quota that I have to meet with photos. We’re supposed to try and get a video with everything. People just love video. We do a morning video every week.
I write a Wednesday column every other week. My picture goes with it, it’s called Jocelyn’s Jottings and it’s about whatever I want. People recognize me. They’ll come up to me and say, “Good job on this,” and, “I saw that you wrote this.” It’s almost everywhere I go now. I learned that making fun of myself works really well in columns. People love that.
I’m on a bunch of beats. I kind of do the aquaculture beat, like fish farms. I kind of do the animals beat, so I wrote a bunch of stories about pit bulls. I do the weather beat, which I hate. Then I also do the police, court [and] emergency beat.
I also really enjoy telling people stories. I am always honoured that people trust me enough to give me an insight into their life and let me tell their story. Because that’s a lot of trust for someone you don’t know very much. My favourite part of my job is that people trust me with their stories and those stories hopefully have an impact on the greater community after we tell them.
I think I want to go back to school. Not to change my career, but to get a Master’s in something. It won’t be journalism; it’d probably be either social work or creative non-fiction.
I think it would be cool to work for an organization that does social justice work, like a law firm. Maybe a health authority and do mental health awareness projects. Still doing journalism, but for a more specific purpose than journalism.
I still want to do the travel writing thing and I still want to do a feature for National Geographic. Have you seen the movie Spotlight? I want to be them. I like doing stories that make people think or make people feel less alone.
As told to Arianna Korbett. This interview has been edited and condensed.
Editor: Emily Thwaites | email@example.com