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

A selection of photos taken by SAIT photojournalism student Anna Burns during her four-week practicum at the <em>Now-Leader</em>.A selection of photos taken by SAIT photojournalism student Anna Burns during her four-week practicum at the Now-Leader.
Frankie La Sasso poses for a photo in his, Box2Fit, gym in Surrey on Wednesday, July 20, 2022. La Sasso current runs classes three times a week for individuals with Parkinson's. (Photo: Anna Burns/Surrey Now-Leader)
Assistant Commissioner Brian Edwards, officer-in-charge of the Surrey RCMP, speaks at a press conference at the Surrey RCMP main detachment Wednesday, July 27, 2022 on an update in the killing of Ripudaman Singh Malik. (Photo by Anna Burns/Surrey Now-Leader)
Whalley All-Stars battled Trout Lake during the B.C. Little League Championships semifinal game Saturday (July 30) at Whalley Athletic Park in Surrey. The home team won 6-5 to advance to Sunday's championship game. (Photo: Anna Burns)
Dan Bouch, left, Georges Kreuzkamp, Bodhi Chan, and Brayson Klein Holden race down the track during the Action BMX Western Series Weekend in Surrey on Saturday, July 30, 2022. The rider with the most points at the end of the weekend will walk away with a red jacket. (Photo: Anna Burns/Surrey Now-Leader)
From left: City councillors Brenda Locke and Allison Patton, Surrey-Green Timbers MLA Rachna Singh, Janice Abbott, CEO of Atira Women’s Resource Society, Coun. Doug Elford, Mayor Doug McCallum, Coun. Laurie Guerra, and Surrey Centre MP Randeep Sarai pose for a photo at the ribbon-cutting ceremony in Whalley in Surrey on Thursday, July 28, 2022. The ceremony was to officially open the Atira Women’s Resource Society Little’s Place Too. (Photo by Anna Burns/Surrey Now-Leader)
Sergeant Kaleigh Paddon of Surrey Police Services (SPS) poses for a photo with Ragnar, at Surrey Police Headquarters in Surrey on Wednesday (July 27). Ragnar completed his training with VICD Service Dogs the same day & is deployed as SPS's Operational Stress Injury (OSI) dog. (Photo by Anna Burns/Black Press Media)
Albert (Bert) Leger, left, and Frankie La Sasso during a punch out parkinson’s boxing class at Box2Fit in Surrey on Wednesday, July 20, 2022. Leger is taking part in a Box2Fit Punch Out Parkinson boxing classes. (Photo by Anna Burns/Surrey Now-Leader)
Youngsters try out Surrey Police Service cutouts for size at Fusion Fest on Saturday. (Photo: Anna Burns)
Nadir Ibadullah poses for a photo in front of his Surrey home on Thursday, July 14, 2022. Ibadullah owns 11 Minis, each of which have their own name. (Photo: Anna Burns/Surrey Now-Leader)
Eli Rattlesnake, A member of the Seven Sacred Fires Powwow Troupe, performs The City of Surrey hosted the 15th annual Surrey Fusion Festival at Holland Park in Surrey on Saturday, July 23, 2022. The free event goes from 11 am- 10 pm July 23-24, 2022. The festival will feature 40 cultural pavilions, vendors, an Indigenous Village, eight stages, a kid zone and amusement rides. The cultural pavilions will also seek to educate the public on their history and traditions and how they relate to this year's theme of "CommUNITY." (Photo by Anna Burns/Surrey Now-Leader)

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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