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Intern turned reporter bids farewell to Daily Press
It's bittersweet to be saying goodbye to the Daily Press, just four months after I first walked in the front door to apply for an internship.
I will soon be flying across the country to return to college in Boston, but I will take with me many lessons learned and memories from my time in the Daily Press newsroom.
I started my internship with little journalism experience and even less knowledge about the High Desert community. Through my time as an intern and then a crime reporter, the people of the High Desert and their stories have found their way into my heart and I have gained appreciation and respect for the work that journalists do.
As an intern, I spent a lot of time learning from everyone in the newsroom, and I was exposed to everything from school board politics to the workings of the court as I shadowed reporters on their beats. I not only learned crucial reporting skills as I began writing stories but also quickly realized how much each reporter in the newsroom cared about serving the people of the High Desert.
In October, I was hired to work as a staff reporter at the Daily Press’ sister paper, the Desert Dispatch. While my time in Barstow was brief, I was struck by how friendly and welcoming the community was from the district attorneys and security guards at the Barstow Courthouse to the people who lined the streets for the Mardi Gras Parade.
I came back to Victorville in November to cover the crime beat. Like any place, the High Desert has its share of problems, and as a crime reporter I have seen some of the worst of the High Desert. I’ve written about murders, attempted murders, fatal collisions and devastating fires. Some days, I went home overwhelmed by the sadness of the events I wrote about, especially on days when I spoke to victims’ grief-stricken families.
Despite all the disheartening stories, I continued to believe in human goodness because of the other stories I wrote about people in the community with a drive to make a difference in their world.
I’ll always remember the probationer from Barstow who had gotten a job and was starting fresh for his girlfriend and children, the members of Women of Noble Character who serve Victorville’s homeless, 4-year-old Timo Davis who is bravely fighting cancer while his family and the community rally around him, the deputies who spent a Saturday in Walmart Christmas shopping with kids, and so many others that I don’t have space to mention here.
Having spent my life moving frequently, living in three African countries and various Southern California cities, I try not to get attached to new places. When I first arrived in the High Desert in August for a semester break from college, I didn’t expect to be sad to leave. The High Desert proved me wrong.
As I leave, I will be headed back to academics, writing papers instead of articles as I study history and literature instead of covering breaking crime news. I have learned a lot about journalism that I will carry back to college, from the importance of getting facts exactly right, to working on a tight deadline and juggling multiple stories, and writing with the reader in mind.
Most strikingly, I’ve come to realize the incredible responsibility that a reporter has to the people mentioned in each story. I’ve made my share of mistakes along the way, and I am grateful for all the people who have helped me. In the newsroom, these include my editors, Don Holland and Brooke Edwards Staggs, and my fellow reporters — Rene De La Cruz, Lynnea Lombardo, Tomoya Shimura, Katie Lucia, Brooke Self and Shea Johnson.
Additionally, I'm grateful to the public information officers and personnel from the Sheriff ’s Department, Fire Department and California Highway Patrol, and every person who opened their lives to me in interviews.
I hope to return to journalism after I graduate college, largely because of the experience I’ve had here at the Daily Press.
So as I say goodbye, I also want to say thank you to the Daily Press news team and the people of the High Desert for four months that changed my life.
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