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Truro News - 2021-11-25

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Truro News reporter Chelsey Gould reflects on first year in journalism

Opinion

CHELSEY GOULD TRURO NEWS chelsey.gould@saltwire.com

TRURO - Just over one year ago, I stepped into the Truro News office for my first day on the job – only to be flung out 20 minutes later to catch a story in Glenholme. My thoughts were racing during the drive – did I know the settings on the camera given to me? Was I supposed to be shooting video? Would I get all the information I needed? How would I even file the story? It was a tiring, but thrilling time with my first story online by the end of the day – and the learning continues every day as the job evolves. Seven months into the pandemic, with Saltwire journalists returning to the newsrooms and print editions returning, Richard Mackenzie, who grew up in Truro, and I, from Amherst, were hired as multimedia journalists. We joined our editor, Harry Sullivan, who was the lone local reporter for most of 2020. Colchester County faced many tragedies that year, and I came into this community wanting to report on their after-effects and anniversaries with as much compassion as possible. And the tough stories continued, including several deaths of those gone too soon. There was also a whirlwind of elections – five races in this county alone, the vaccine rollout and COVID shutdowns, exciting growth in local recreational opportunities, and people, businesses and organizations doing their very best. Later, I became a rural voice for Saltwire journalists at COVID briefings with Nova Scotia’s premier and chief medical officer of health, with some questions from readers themselves. And my journalism education showed me that the media has a fraught relationship to repair with racial minorities – I am personally working on building that trust and bringing those stories to the forefront. This includes a vital role in reconciliation, recognized by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Every journalist knows the best conversations are always in person along with opportunities for video and photos, but when restrictions tightened, we adapted to calls and assisted interviewees who got a taste of being journalists themselves in figuring out how to submit media and connect virtually. It is not news that the online and digital landscape has transformed how information is consumed. Focusing on our online presence and shifting to a weekly paper has broadened opportunities for in-depth features and impactful journalism. As a result, our stories go beyond the initial reporting to the people and the heart of the issue. A major component of my role as a “multimedia journalist” is curating stories for an online audience, enhanced with multimedia components such as videos, photos, graphics and links – and I highly recommend checking them out. We have significantly improved along with a website redesign over the past year and love seeing people engage in the conversation and share stories from our social channels. As the days grow colder and darker, I am reminded of how difficult it was to move to Truro last November. My job and move happened just one week after the interview. I was thankful for the support of local friends – it was a time of a million adjustments, trying to navigate my new job at a workplace still trying to get into a groove after being closed for so long, trying to make connections while many community settings were on pause, settling into a temporary place while hunting for another place to live within a tough rental market and finding things I needed – all during pandemic restrictions. I feel extremely lucky to have found a job during the COVID pandemic in the province I love and within the year I graduated. Going to Ryerson University in Toronto, I always knew I wanted to be back on the east coast shining a spotlight on local communities. As a reporter, I get the unique experience of discovering the community, connecting with the people living here, and making the area special. We are humble journalists reporting out of Colchester County, but we are just three out of over 50,000 residents in a county that is growing fast. So if you know of a remarkable story or initiative, we’d love to hear about it to help celebrate Colchester County while keeping people informed.

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