BRUCE MacKINNON CARTOON: March 26, 2020
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As this season became official, I found myself thinking about the summer of 1988.
I had just finished my first year of university with a thud — a 30 average — that made my parents soooo proud.
Asked by academia to sit out a year, I was inexperienced and unskilled and looking for something to do.
After weeks with no luck, I learned there was an opening for a sports reporter at The Western Star, my hometown newspaper in Corner Brook.
Kelly, a childhood friend, was working there and knew I had an interest in baseball, basketball and hockey.
I’m sure she put in a good word for me, because I ended up getting the job.
Problem was, I knew very little about journalism, reporting, photography or writing.
It was a struggle at first.
I remember sitting in the car for more than an hour trying to load film into a Pentax K1000.
I’ll never forget hearing from readers after my first major gaffe — running the wrong photo with a wire story about boxer Donny “Golden Boy” Lalonde.
And I recall the pain of trying to write on deadline — the knots in my stomach tightening with every tick of the clock.
But at some point that summer, I fell in love with journalism and ink started flowing through my veins.
After a while, even when on the 5 a.m. wire shift, I couldn’t wait to get work.
It was highly addictive, powered by a newfound passion for writing and a historic summer in the sports world — Wayne Gretzky got traded to the Los Angeles Kings and Ben Johnson got caught using steroids after blazing the track to a world record and gold medal in the 100 metres.
I decided to divert from my plan of becoming a dietician and pursue a career in journalism.
I returned to school as soon as they’d let me back in and earned a couple of degrees.
I landed my first job about a month after graduating and have not “worked” a day since.
Luckily I still love journalism and 31 years later it has never felt laborious.
I write this with two intentions. The first is to encourage those who are graduating to pursue a profession that they’ll truly love. Next to deciding on a life partner, it’ll be the best decision you’ll ever make.
The other is to encourage you, Dear Reader, to fall madly in love with journalism this summer.
Steve Bartlett is SaltWire’s managing editor. Reach him at email@example.com.