By Lisa Marie Stahl
I learned a lot being part of the journalistic world even before I began writing for the Daily News. And Im still learning.
When I discovered my talent of writing, I focused mostly on short stories, poems, etc When my teacher suggested trying journalism, I wrinkled my nose at the idea. Here I hadnt even given it a try and already I told myself it wasnt for me!
Perhaps if there were other people from my culture to look up to, admire or learn from, my interest would have differed.
But there was no one. I didnt know of anyone who was a Hutterite who was involved in journalism.
But, as a high school student, I was always up for a new challenge in the line of writing, so I encouraged myself to at least give it a try.
I was all excited about creating our first school newspaper, and having complete responsibility of the new project. I surprised myself at how much I loved it. I left school that day, my head full of new and exciting things I would be including.
That school newspaper was an experience by itself. There were many ups and downs, lots of rough parts to sand out, but there were also rewards. There were several times I was discouraged enough to want to drop the whole idea, but there would always be something or someone to lift my spirits.
I took a course on journalism in my high school correspondence course which taught me a lot. But I always wished I could have had hands-on experience. I always had wished for someone involved in journalism to show me a few tricks, to personally correct my mistakes and show me how to improve what I had done wrong. Most of the time I did things just by using my own judgment or how I thought was best. But in the end, my best teacher was myself. Ive taught myself to be observant, to see how other reporters did things and to create ideas from there.
After being involved in the real journalistic world for more than a year and a half, Ive gained a completely different respect and insight for reporters and the media than I had before.
Its also taught me responsibility. I try my best to have my weekly article written, proofread and faxed to the paper each Wednesday (at the latest, early Thursday morning). I have to give myself enough time to think of a topic and to write an article worth publishing. Its taught me not to push things off till the last minute. If I know Ill be gone for a week or more Ive learned to write articles ahead of time, so nothing interferes with my normal routine.
But best of all, the thing I enjoy most about writing for the Havre Daily News, is I can write from my heart. I can voice my own personal opinion in what I write. With my weekly column I have the golden opportunity to finally inform the people in our area what Hutterites really are and how our society and culture operates, instead of just judging what people think about us from, overheard talk, impressions and rumor. And that alone is a reward by itself.