Forum: Journalism connects interests in words and government

Getting some exposure to state government and reporting has laid out career possibilities.

Ann Duan (Kevin Clark / Herald photo)

Ann Duan (Kevin Clark / Herald photo)

By Ann Duan / Herald Foroum

As a kid, writing was never my “thing.” I enjoyed reading and listening to stories, but the idea of building my own world with my own words seemed impossible. The thought of anyone wanting to read my work seemed even less possible.

Surrounded by talented friends and classmates, I was certain there would always be someone more talented than myself.

Still, I was captivated by the way words worked. I learned to appreciate the magical ring certain phrases had and to observe the way sentences could flow so naturally into one another.

This fixation compelled me to read more often as I entered my middle school days. Soon enough, between English assignments and hours of reading, I started to get the feeling that I wasn’t that bad of a writer after all.

Of course, my stories were far-from-perfect at the age of 12, but I was only beginning to trust my skills. I used big words incorrectly, wrote hundreds of run-on sentences (maybe I still do), and somehow, found a way to make it fun.

At the beginning of my eighth-grade year, I was convinced by a friend to join a YMCA program called Youth and Government. We were promised a trip to Olympia in May and a chance to debate on the House and Senate floors, so with much excitement and a little bit of hesitancy, I joined.

That year, as promised, I traveled to Olympia with a group of Mill Creek high schoolers, and became a reporter for the student newspaper, the Capitol Chronicles. Working with the high school students, from my eighth-grade perspective, was both terrifying and inspiring. I wrote a handful of my own articles and conducted an interview for the first time. Surprisingly, people seemed to enjoy it.

I returned the next year, and the year after that, albeit on Zoom. Though our program shrank during the pandemic, the struggle to connect hundreds of delegates in a virtual setting taught me to expand my digital media skills, and I found myself conducting Zoom interviews and designing Instagram posts, of all things.

The endless encouragement I received from my fellow Youth and Government friends only broadened my interest in journalism which pushed me to sign up for an internship at The Herald through Everett Public Schools.

These past few weeks, I’ve had the opportunity to delve into the world of journalistic writing and see just exactly how things work behind the scenes. From shadowing photographers and attending interviews to collaborating on articles, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed this experience. My time at The Herald showed me just how fast-paced news can be, but also how riveting the reporting process really is.

As I enter my senior year of high school, and hopefully college after that, I look forward to pursuing my passion for writing, and I am so grateful to have had this opportunity with The Herald.

Ann Duan will be a senior at Henry M. Jackson High School this fall.

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