We are fortunate to have a co-op student with us this spring, from Oxford Regional Education Centre. Emily Truesdale is in Grade 11 and already knows she wants to be a journalist. So her first job, right off the top, is to produce an article each week about what's going on at the high school. The Journal is always interested in printing those types of articles but they can be hard to rustle up; they need to be well-written and they need to arrive consistently (as in, by Tuesday morning every week).
From my point of view, it's going to be fun to mentor a young, budding writer, help her create a portfolio for when she begins to apply to journalism school. Just so happens, I picked up a magazine while travelling through the Orlando airport a couple of weeks ago - it's the American version of our "More" magazine - and in it is a great profile of the new editor of the New York Times, Jill Abramsom. She is the first woman to head the well-established newspaper. Since the profile goes into detail about her career and the challenges she has faced, it's a good piece to share with Emily. I have an office full of papers I've collected, many of them stories about the success of other writers. It's all about inspiration and motivation.
About her choice of co-op placement, Emily told me, "I think the best place to learn how to do something is where it happens so the best place to learn to write for a paper is at a newspaper."
Even though she's only 16, Emily has a pretty firm grip on her interests.
"At first, I thought I wanted to be novelist but then I realized how much I like reading newspaper. I love the way they are written. I like the way each story is written, they are different depending on the writer. My family has always been a newspaper family, my father would read articles out loud."
She's enthusiastic about the profession - and isn't that nice to hear in an age when newspapers, books, magazines are in danger of becoming extinct?
"Newspapers are out every day and I want to be a part of that," Emily said.
I'm looking forward to working with Emily every Tuesday until June.