While interviewing with the Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service, Editor Ron Smith informed me that I was a “nontraditional candidate.”
“But that’s not necessarily a bad thing,” he quickly added.
He was right, my resume did not look like a typical reporter’s. After moving to Milwaukee, I started as a tutor and teacher’s assistant at South Division through the AmeriCorps program City Year. After a full school year learning from South’s ninth-graders, I joined Public Allies, another AmeriCorps program here. Through Public Allies I served as a community connector with Ex Fabula, a storytelling organization in Milwaukee. I wrote occasionally, but never for a newspaper. I never studied journalism, or even took a single journalism-related class.
“Nontraditional” candidate was putting it nicely.
In my free time, however, I was stumbling upon how much of an asset nontraditional journalism can be. Looking for a hobby in March 2018, I started as a producer with “Bridge the City,” a podcast all about civic engagement in Milwaukee. What caught my attention was that each episode of the podcast features not only compelling information about what’s going on in Milwaukee but also tangible action steps listeners can take to coordinate action. The podcast was founded on the idea that we’d rather have 10 people listen and take action then 1,000 people listen but nobody takes action. For a news source, that’s definitely nontraditional.
My experience with “Bridge the City” has made me seek out news sources that not only keep me informed but also get me involved. NNS is an organization that does this.
Despite my nontraditional background, I wanted to come to NNS because NNS is an organization that does news well. Not only because it describes Milwaukee, but because it helps build Milwaukee. For almost 10 years, NNS has kept Milwaukee informed and involved.
Now that I’m officially a part of the NNS team, I hope to continue this tradition. I will primarily be reporting on education in Milwaukee. Reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.