Each Monday, we are posting a blog to help our readers get to know the media just a little bit better.
With a TWIST!
No, we aren’t posting story pitch tips or media lists, but instead great stories from the media themselves about their lives, their work and other little known facts! Think of it as your first “networking” opportunity of the week!
Today’s #MediaMonday comes to us from Jim Small, editor for Arizona News Service. Arizona News Service is a multi-faceted Capitol news service that produces Arizona Capitol Times and a number of other publications that focus on issues for the legislative, business and legal communities.
An award-winning reporter, he has covered the Arizona Legislature for the Arizona Capitol Times since 2004.
So, Jim, time to share!
What do you want to tell the blogosphere about yourself today?
I never wanted to be in journalism.
In fact, I resisted even considering this field for years, and it was only because of a series of fortuitous events that I am sitting here today answering this question.
I always had the skills necessary to be a journalist – I was inquisitive, a good writer, quick on my feet – but continually ran the other way when various opportunities to be involved in journalism appeared.
During college at Northern Arizona University, I opted to study electronic media (fancy pants talk for radio and television management) instead of journalism, over the objections of my friends involved in the campus newspaper.
One of those friends then became the sports editor of the paper, and I continually rebuffed his requests that I write the odd story or two for his section. After he became my roommate, and the editor-in-chief of the paper, his pleadings became harder to avoid, but I dug my heels in deeper.
Following a transfer to Grand Canyon University to be closer to family, I faced an unwelcome reality: All students in the communications program were required to take a substantial block of pre-requisite classes, including intro to journalism writing.
I was angry. Here, I had successfully avoided a field of study and an industry for reasons I still don’t fully grasp, but I was now being forced to reverse course.
Needless to say, it was the best thing that could have happened to me.
I sulked into class the first day, unhappy with my lot in life. But by the end of the hour, my attitude was changing. My teacher, veteran reporter Michael Kiefer (who now covers courts for the Republic, but spent years as a freelancer and a reporter for the New Times), was a breath of fresh air who treated us like adults and held us to high standards.
I gave in to the thing I had been running from, and I was instantly hooked. I began working for the school paper. I used every elective credit hour I could for journalism classes. I became editor of the school paper in my final semester.
Fast-forward to today, and I’m grateful that the fates conspired to force me to realize what I love to do – and I only wish I’d taken the plunge sooner.
You can follow Jim on Twitter, @JimSmall.