January 28, 2004

Proto-Inkslinger #1

Insights from the West Side
Written from Stephenville, NL
Appeared in Carbonear Compass Jan. 28, 2004

So here I am in my final semester in the journalism program at College of the North Atlantic in Stephenville.

It seems like just yesterday I walked into the college newsroom and met my class. There were almost twenty of us then. That was nearly two years ago. As of now there are seven of us, and I’m the only guy.

We were introduced to the basics of journalism in short order and began to write our first stories.
And so, the semester in Stephenville progressed. I went through the life of a college student: eating the bad cafeteria food, going to the bar and drinking a lot, falling in and out of love, getting stressed out by exams, drinking lots of coffee and so on.

Then, during the winter, on Valentine’s Day to be exact, my life turned upside down when I slipped on the ice and broke my arm. I went to the hospital and absurdly was sent home without any help. After thirteen hours of suffering, I made it to Corner Brook and got proper treatment. I’ll be talking to you more about my beef with the health care system in a later installment of this column.

That spring, I had a work term at The Charter in Placentia and then just three weeks later landed a summer position at The Compass in Carbonear, my hometown. For those of you who happened to read my farewell piece, ‘Contemplating the Summer: My Introduction into the Newspaper World’ (appeared in the August 26, ’03 edition of The Compass) would know of some of the trials, tribulations and the plain fun I had this past summer.

During my third semester, I landed the coveted position of Managing Editor of my college newspaper, The Troubador. I had a better idea then what it felt like to be in Bill Bowman’s shoes – the major difference being I had 30 people under my command, and Bill has a small group of dedicated individuals under his. I had a great time doing it, and apparently it was the strongest edition put out by the program. It was also the twentieth anniversary edition, except I only found out on deadline day. This past third edition was the most difficult of all, because other than being the editor, I had to do radio shows, make news video clips, and write term papers.

Then 2004 arrived, and here I am writing the first installment of this column.

Now to get to the point of this column – I’ll let you in on a secret…it’s a school project. I’m not being paid for this, it’s to help me get my foot in the door, to help me make a name for myself.

As the weeks go by, I’ll be giving you, the reader, my opinions on various current events, as they happen. Hopefully, I’ll have a fresh outlook and won’t bore you. There’s lots of stuff going on…for example Danny Williams, Paul Martin, OxyContin, Bush, Iraq, Afghanistan, and much more. If you want to email me with ideas or feedback, my address is hutchings_ian@excite.com.

Until then, see you next time.