This week marked the sixth year since I joined the Herald Democrat full time as a reporter. Despite all that time and the myriad of stories I’ve written since then, I am still remember my first days as a rookie reporter.
My first day on the job was on Nov. 18, 2013, and from the very start, my editors put me to work. Initially, I didn’t have a set beat and mostly focused on the smaller cities in our region. It was about a month later that I took over the Denison area which would be my primary focus until earlier this year.
My first assignment was pretty straight forward. As the elections had just been held, I was given the assignment to write about the canvassing of the results. What normally would have been a 15-inch story turned much longer as I wrote in-depth about each item.
In the years since, I’ve learned to be more concise in my writing.
I changed hats later that first night when I filled in and covered a Sherman school board meeting. I can remember going in slightly blind for my first meeting, but I impressed myself when I got three stories from that event.
I continued to wear my Sherman hat the next day when I covered a rather uneventful planning and zoning meeting. Ironically, it was in a P&Z meeting this week that I realized that it had been six years from my beginning here.
My first week was mainly spent learning the ropes and getting early contacts throughout the community. However, one of my first stories almost proved to be an omen in hindsight.
During my second day, my editor at the time approached me about writing a story about TAPS Public Transit, who were planning a new regional transit hub amid rampant growth. It almost seemed ironic considering the news that would come just two years later.