Five years ago today, I became the web producer at an Augusta television network affiliate.
When I first started, I’d never worked in TV or news before. I’d traced 3D map features from aerial photography, worked night desk in a few college dormitories, performed office assistant and data entry duties, blossomed into a fledgling print and web designer and editor, and briefly (perhaps prematurely) attempted freelance web design. I’d always had an interest in news, and for some reason, my mom always thought I’d be a newspaper reporter. But I’d never pursued journalism, for whatever reason, and I’d certainly never learned anything about broadcasting, so when I came in as web producer I had a bit of a learning curve.
What I did know, though, was the culture of web and design fundamentals, so I started there and I learned. I learned a lot about Photoshop from our graphic designer and later, after she’d moved on, from online tutorials. I quickly became proficient in the content management systems used at the station, so much so that it wasn’t long before I was making enhancement suggestions–many of which were implemented. I made mistakes and I grew. I took leaps. I redesigned the website again and again as I discovered new things and as the standard layout changed group-wide.
And I edited news stories, and eventually even wrote a few myself. I learned from reading some great writers, both at the station and out in the wilds of the internet. I began to learn more and more about journalism, ethics, and legal issues. I started to form strong opinions about what news is and what it should aspire to. I started to think about ways in which the internet could help people come to a true, contextual understanding of the news of the day.
These are all things I might not have done, might not have thought of, had I not chosen this path. And I’m yearning to know more. I want to make videos, good videos. Maybe podcasts. Maybe music. I want to create and share information in other media.
Now it’s time for the next great adventure. Sean and I are moving from Augusta to Atlanta. After a period of telecommuting, I’ll move to new work, too.
Will I stay in news? Design? Web? Writing? Will I branch out into another untried field? I don’t know.
I hope I can find a place where I am free to grow, free to learn and experiment and take ownership of my position and change the very nature of it. I’ve been lucky enough to enjoy that kind of environment for the past five years, and I’m so grateful, and so excited to see where my path takes me next.