After finishing my 10th week as an official journalist, I have reflected on all that I have witnessed while working on this job. I knew coming into this profession that I would be exposed to everything the world has to offer: good and bad. However, I was not prepared for what I did encounter.

First, let me preface this by saying I have always been a city girl. I was born and raised in one, and I have very little experience with wildlife. Needless to say, I was supremely excited to see a coyote for the first time. One ran in front of my car as I was passing Paris High School one day on my way to work. It moved so fast that it took a minute for my brain to process what I had just seen. When I realized it was an actual coyote, I wanted to follow it to see where it was going. Yes, that was a stupid idea and I am glad I didn’t act on it, but I still really wanted to.

Another first for me was that I received emails from admirers of my work. I had only received Letters to the Editors that praised the newspaper as a whole. Never before had I received outright praise for an article or column that I had written, and it made me feel like I was accomplishing something good for the community. It’s nice to be recognized and to feel like I made someone’s day better with my writing.

Some of the first stories I wrote for The Paris News were about the coronavirus, which decided to make a dramatic appearance during my second week on the job. Journalism school tried its best to prepare me to cover a pandemic, but a lot of these skills I learned through a trial by fire. The sheer amount of information the newspaper had to sift through to get the most accurate information was mind boggling. It didn’t help that everything decided to shut down at once. As first plagues go, this one is tough.

These depressing stories on job loss and death were accompanied by those of charity and community involvement. So many people have taken up the mantle of distributing personal protective equipment to essential workers in need and to make those workers feel appreciated in their efforts to help the world get through this crisis. It has restored my faith in humanity.

Going back to my misadventures while driving to work, twice I have pulled over to the side of an intersection because I thought there was a fire and it turned out to be nothing. The first time was when I was introduced to a factory on the outskirts of the city that lights up like a steampunk novel in the early morning sunlight. The second was a farmer who had a controlled burn going on his property. I called the fire department on that one since I didn’t know it was a controlled burn. I have since apologised to him.

Although some of these experiences happened while I wasn’t in the newsroom, I wouldn’t have had them had I not gotten this job, and I will be forever grateful for that. I can’t wait to see what other wacky adventures the future holds.

Jennifer Bussey is the assistant managing editor of The Paris News. She can be contacted at or 903-785-8744.

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