Forum: Job shadow of Herald staff helped confirm career choice

I’ve always enjoyed writing, especially gathering facts. A summer internship provided clarity.

Fern Calderwood (Ryan Berry / The Herald)

Fern Calderwood (Ryan Berry / The Herald)

By Fern Calderwood / Herald Forum

I’ve always wanted to be a writer like my mom. I remember seeing her massive collection of journals filled cover-to-cover with her writing when I was younger and marveling at her ability to put her thoughts on paper.

“I want to do that too,” I decided.

I would always be writing a different story; I’d start a new one, write about a page, and then forget about it and move on. I have so many unfinished stories, they could probably fill a book of their own.

For a while, I gave up on being a writer completely because I could never finish a story. But then in middle school I started writing essays where I had to research and investigate. Most of my friends would complain about the essays and about how they were so boring, but I really liked doing that kind of writing. Not only was it one of few things I could actually finish, I had fun searching for my own evidence. That’s when I decided I might want to do that kind of writing as a career.

That decision didn’t really amount to anything for a while because I had no clue how to even start on the path to becoming a journalist. Then, this December I organized and co-ran the Everett High School walkout against sexual assault and got to meet one of the reporters from The Herald. After the walkout was over, we stayed in touch, and I helped them write another article about the importance of LGBTQIA+ inclusive clubs in local schools. A few months after they interviewed me for that article, I reached out to them asking if there was an internship or job shadowing opportunity at The Herald I could do, they put me in touch with their editor, and I started shadowing in early July.

My first day shadowing I took four pages of notes. I wrote down everything I thought was remotely important or interesting, from the staff’s names and what stories everyone was working on, to how to find sources and “beat build.” Since then, every day I’ve been at The Herald I’ve learned or experienced something new. I’ve gotten to go out on an interview with one of the reporters, shadow a photographer on one of their assignments, and even gotten the chance to write an article with the other interns and one of the reporters.

Before I shadowed at The Herald, I still wasn’t 100 percent sure about what I wanted to do with my life. I wanted to either be a reporter or a chemist but had absolutely no clue which.

Interning at The Herald these past few weeks helped me to get clarity on my future and decide that journalism is, without a doubt, the job for me. I am infinitely grateful for the time I’ve spent at The Herald this summer and will take what I have learned with me as I work to become a journalist. I hope to one day be like my mother and have a collection of my writing. Although my collection would be of newspapers, not journals.

Fern Calderwood will be a sophomore this year at Everett High School.

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