I’m going to come right out and admit that I got today’s blog idea after I read Andy Palumbo’s blog today. In a nutshell, Sunday is his 14th anniversary at WNEP. I can’t imagine working for the same employer for that long, and I hope I get the chance to do so. I have a hard time believing I’ve been at WNEP for 4+ years.
After I read his blog, I looked at the date. June 15. And then it hit me… today is a work-related anniversary for me.
It was on June 15, 2005 that I stepped through the doors of KRTV, the CBS affiliate in Great Falls, Montana for the first time as a paid employee. Today is the day I consider my anniversary of being a professional journalist.
Scared doesn’t even begin to describe it. I was fairly confident in my reporting, shooting and editing skills. The University of Maryland had taught me well. I was to be a “one-man-band,” or a reporter who shoots and edits her own video. They’re often referred to as Multi-media Journalists now, or MMJ’s. Everyone was nice and welcoming, and there were quite a few reporters there who were from different parts of the country, just like me. But I was still more than 2,000 miles from home in a place I had never been before. I knew no one, other than the news director I had only spoken with over the phone.
To this day, moving to Great Falls two weeks after I graduated from college is still the craziest thing I’ve ever done.
I was only there for about six months. I wasn’t placed under contract at KRTV and as winter set in, I was lucky enough to get a job offer at a station in Savannah, Ga. It was a larger market in a much warmer climate. It was kind of a no-brainer decision.
But I don’t regret a single thing about my experience in Great Falls. I made a lot of mistakes. A LOT. I did my first live shots, learned how a newsroom works, and did the first stories of which I was truly proud. I also did some stories that could have been a lot better. I made some connections I still treasure to this day.
I don’t think I’d want to live in Montana again, but I’d love to go back to visit. It is a gorgeous place!
It’s a very nice city with lots of wonderful people. It was just too isolated for me. My family – and my heart – will forever be on the East Coast. But I think one of the most important things I learned in Montana was that I could make it on my own. I didn’t need my parents within driving distance to survive. I may have been 22 years old, but I was an adult none-the-less.
Like I said, it was the craziest – and maybe one of the most important – things I’ve ever done.