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COLUMN: How 4 weeks in Surrey newsroom forever changed my view of community journalism

Practicum introduced me to new challenges, interesting people and bustling communities

I did not expect to enjoy working in a newsroom as much as I have.

I started my practicum at the Surrey Now-Leader in mid-July and I did not anticipate what was in store.

Before finishing my journalism diploma at the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT), I had to find a practicum where I would use my education. Having majored in photojournalism, I was eager to find a practicum where I could use my photography skills.

I knew doing my practicum at the Now-Leader meant I would probably have to write stories, and since my strength is in photography and not writing, I was not sure how it would go.

I was pleasantly surprised and ended up loving my experience. The team at the Now-Leader is so kind and shared so much wisdom and knowledge about working in journalism. My time at the Now-Leader has changed how I see community journalism and has given me a desire to work in the journalism field.

During my time in Surrey, I was tasked with taking photos at sporting events, IHIT press conferences, a crime scene and many festivals.

I was able to attend events I likely would not have heard of and meet some incredible people. People like Frankie La Sasso, who holds boxing classes to help people with Parkinson’s, and Mini car collector Nadir Ibadullah, who owns 10 classic Minis.

Each day was totally different from the last. On my second day I went from a press conference on the SkyTrain extension, to a crime scene, then to a car collector’s house.

I am not sure what the future holds, but I certainly would like to find a job in this field.

My practicum also showed me how well my instructors at SAIT have prepared me for working in the field. In school we were taught the importance of journalistic ethics, capturing moments that tell a story, while not manipulating the photo in any way.

I am sad that my practicum has ended, but I am so thankful for my time at the Now-Leader, for the amazing team there and for everything I have learned.

Anna Burns is a SAIT grad living in Langley. Today (Friday, Aug. 5) is her last day working in the Now-Leader newsroom.

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