There is nothing better than when a “media meeting” turns into fun!
Such was the case the first time I met Melissa Fittro, news services editor for the Scottsdale, Paradise Valley and Biltmore Independents, respectively.
A relative newbie to the journalism business, Melissa is jumping in headfirst – and has lots of creative ideas you all will be seeing both in print and online in coming months.
So, Melissa, time to share!
What do you want to tell the blogosphere about yourself today?
I am very flattered to be asked to be included for Media Monday, especially since I only started in the field about seven months ago.
I knew I wanted to be a journalist immediately after taking a journalism elective class my sophomore year of high school.
I’m not sure if it was how easily everything in that class made sense, or if it was my incredibly inspirational and motivating teacher or a combination of the two, but I suddenly had an answer for that looming question….what do you want to be when you grow up?
I was then able to join the school newspaper. I was a member of the paper for my remaining two years, ending my time there as online newspaper editor-in-chief.
I entered into the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communications the following fall, and was suddenly a small fish in a big pond. I remember that feeling immediately bothered me; it was unfamiliar.
My time at the Cronkite school was enjoyable, but my faith in journalism waivered. As the four years went on, the newspaper industry worsened. There was no discussion of working at a print newspaper.
I wanted to design the pages, play with the fonts, create a product; I enjoyed the artistic part of the process, not only the writing.
After graduating in the fall of December 2013, I started volunteering with a nonprofit, Dogs on Deployment, by writing pieces for their blog page and bartending at a local sushi restaurant. It wasn’t like this was my only choice, but I wasn’t sure what I wanted for the future. Was I going to be a social media manager? Should I just work for some website news service writing fluff pieces?
“That wasn’t really why I wanted to be a journalist, but you do have to pay your dues,” I told myself.
I lucked out.
Exactly one year after graduating, I landed a job with Independent Newspapers, a community newspaper organization in four states.
I have now been with the Independent for seven months and could not be more thankful or happy. I found everything I had been longing for at this job. We put out a quality weekly print version and have a successful website that has been growing monthly.
In our office we put out the Scottsdale Independent, Paradise Valley Independent and Biltmore Independent. Three papers our group is all very proud of.
We’ve found the secret, as my colleague says, to surviving in this industry while still holding high journalistic standards and being profitable.
As cliché as it is, don’t settle for less than you want. I probably would have taken any writing job, and been pushed further from journalism. I am very thankful that didn’t happen and instead, my love for the industry has flourished.