Every Friday since January 2013, I leave my chaotic life of “mom of three living in BFE” and enter a place where adults fight over sentences, curse at the television and where a scanner buzzes at high volumes, alerting people of emergencies.
I go from my house in the country to the newsroom at The Chronicle-Telegram.
And for me, it’s vacation.
My parents should have known from the get-go that I was going to be a somewhat difficult child. Who else would force her mother to give birth in Bowling Green, Ohio during the worst blizzard in history … The Blizzard of 1978?
A year after I was born, a reporter from The Bowling Green Sentinel contacted my parents and asked them to relive the arrival of their daughter.
Nearly 21 years later, I became a part-time reporter for the same newspaper that covered the one-year anniversary of my birth.
It’s funny how life seems to make a full circle, especially when you least expect it.
After college, I landed a full-time job with The Crescent-News, in Defiance, Ohio.
There, I put my journalism skills to use every single day.
Funny though, I think I had the skills in my blood when I was conceived.
As a little girl, I asked my mom what every single word was on the bathroom doors when we went camping – and they weren’t nice words, but I think she made words up just to keep me quiet.
Another time when we were camping, they could not find me. I was at a campsite a few places down, visiting with the other campers.
Even at a young age, the stories people told me intrigued me. I wanted to know more.
And that is what still drives me today.
I am a mom, and have been for 10 years, but I have been a journalist far longer. I am proud of my career, it’s in my blood. I am “that mom” who will have her children in the van and start following fire trucks. I am “that mom” who stretches her neck when I see a mob of people standing around. I am “that mom” who was going to the store for milk, but learned the store closed out of the blue, leaving the community without a store and people out of a job for more than 48 hours – and used scrap paper for note-taking.
Not every job comes with a “Free to be a Pest” pass. But for journalists, we tend to go where no one else can … it’s our job to seek answers, and the truth.
Sadly, for the city of Cleveland, 50 journalists had to give their “Free to be a Pest” pass back this week. I hope and pray these 50 people have the courage to stick with their career, and find a new job in the field of journalism. Journalists do not belong in clothing stores, stacking shelves with pants; they do not belong in banks, because honestly, many of us in journalism are terrible in math anyways; journalists don’t belong in libraries because we are too loud; and we don’t belong in factories, making the same thing over and over and over again – for us, the ultimate death would be from boredom.
Without journalists, the world may very well become a quiet place, where politicians, government and other public officials hush-hush amongst themselves at “public” meetings. The average person does not have enough time to attend every single council, school board or government meeting. But journalists, we use our “Free to be a Pest” pass to not only attend these meetings, but to ask further questions. And then, we drive back to the newsroom, with our notebook in hand and begin telling our readers what they need to know.