Flexing a Little Journalistic Muscle

If you’ve followed my blog, you know that I’ve lived in the Pacific Northwest for just over a year. Since I moved to Tacoma in the fall of 2014, I’ve kept my eye out for a job at a newspaper and have applied to several weekly and daily newspapers. While I have landed a few freelance jobs, I haven’t been able to get the kind of work I want, which is a staff reporter.

I’m nothing if not flexible, so the jobs I’ve applied for have ranged from full-time, part-time and even freelance positions. I know that we all have to start somewhere and that jobs, particularly in journalism, often have a snowball effect where one article, one contact, leads to another to another to another.

So, I’ve scanned the job boards, newspaper websites and actual newspapers for possible positions. I’ve found that unlike in Missouri, Washington has a lot of open jobs in the journalism industry.

I’ve applied to numerous positions and have gained interviews for almost every job I’ve applied for, which is definitely a different experience than what I had in Missouri, where employers consistently passed over me–a Communications grad from a small Liberal Arts college in Florida–to interview local, Columbia J-School grads.

After about twelve months of applying over and over again and getting the same response from editors at the various newspapers in the Puget Sound area (they believe I’m a good reporter, but they’re leery of hiring me because I don’t have any experience covering city government) I decided to take the bull by the horns.

There’s only one way to gain experience and that is by doing.

Earlier today I went to the City of Tacoma’s website and decided to watch the Tacoma City Council Meeting online and create my own mock article to show prospective employers that I can take initiative and write whatever types of articles I need to in order to be a successful journalist. The idea behind doing this experiment is to show that I can be an asset to a news organization, I’m a good writer and I have no problem taking initiative.

In college, my professors taught me those last two items were characteristics of a great journalist and I’m hopeful those rules apply in the real world.

Read on for my example of a City Council Meeting article.

Art AIDS America exhibit honored, Mead-Keyser House a Historic Landmark and Point Defiance Master Plan Presented at City Council Meeting

From the City Council Meeting on Oct. 13, 2015

Proclamations/Recognitions/Presentations

  • At a recent Tacoma City Council Meeting Mayor Strickland proclaimed October 13, 2015 as Art AIDS America day in Tacoma. Tobin Eckholt, Interim Director of Development for the Tacoma Art Museum thanked the city and mayor for recognizing the importance of the exhibit.  Mayor Strickland encouraged residents to visit the exhibit as well as the AIDS Memorial QUilt on display at the Tacoma Convention Center. “Our hope is all Tacomans come away with an understanding of how AIDS has changed the landscape of American art and contemporary American culture,” said Mayor Strickland of the exhibit.
  • The mayor also proclaimed October 15, 2015 as White Cane Safety Day in the City of Tacoma. She urged drivers to use caution when they see someone with a white cane, and employers to recognize the skills and abilities of blind persons.
  • The council recognized the third quarter Human Rights Champion Award recipient. The award recognizes the work of citizens to advance and protect human rights. John Purbaugh was recognized for his work advocating for and providing legal representation to marginalized community members, through the Puget Sound Legal Assistance Foundation and the Northwest Justice Project.

Resolutions

  • Resolution No. 39284 A resolution was passed designating the Mead-Keyser Residence, located at 2702 North Puget Sound Avenue, as a historic landmark, placing the property on the Tacoma Register of Historic Places.
  • Resolution No. 39286 A resolution was passed awarding a contract to Frontier Communications, in the amount of $408,355.89, plus a contingency of $60,714.00, for a cumulative total of $469,069.89, plus sales tax, budgeted from the Information System Fund, for hardware equipment to complete a one year data network infrastructure update.

Public Hearing

Debbie Twillgow, Planning and Development Director of Metro Parks Tacoma presented a public hearing regarding the 20-year master plan for Point Defiance. Proposed improvements include allowing two-way traffic in certain areas of the park in order to ease traffic and provide safe pedestrian access to the waterfront and throughout the park. Another proposed improvement is creating year-round activities in the park to encourage use of the park throughout all four seasons.

The next City Council Meeting is on October 20 at 5 p.m. and can be viewed online at the City of Tacoma’s website.

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