Confession of a work-term student: Today was a bad day

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It was a bright and clear day in Carbonear, May 14. I woke up to birds chirping and the sun streaming through my window.

Laura Griffin is completing a four-week work placement at The Compass newspaper in Carbonear

But something felt off about the day.

For the past 11 days, I’ve walked to my desk in the morning excitedly to get start on the first project of the day.

But, there was something different about my computer. I had a yellow sticky note taped on it.

There it was, inked on a square piece of paper; my first complaint.

“Great,” I thought. There goes my joyful morning.

Now, I realize that comes with the job. Not everyone is going to agree with every article you write.

And like everyone, I make mistakes. That doesn’t mean I don’t try my best, it just means I’m human.

But just like any journalist would, with the help of my editor, we wrote an apology and posted it online.

Simple, problem solved right?

I proceeded to go about my day and continue stories that needed to be written.

But the day didn’t get any better.

Later that afternoon, another reporter from The Compass and I, attended a horrific child abuse case at Harbour Grace provincial court. What I heard will forever be nailed fiercely in my memory.

I was there to take notes, and to learn more on media law in journalism. But I dropped my notebook to my knees and stopped writing. I was so taken back with all the details and convictions of the case.

How do community journalists do it?

One minute we could be doing a minor hockey story, then next a child abuse case story.

From what I’ve learned, we’ve been told to compartmentalize in our job, or to take ourselves out of the moment.

I couldn’t. I broke down. I cried.

I can’t help but wonder how can anyone walk out of that court with a dry eye.

It’s very overwhelming. It’s a lot on my shoulders as a young journalist.

Today felt like a series of whip lashes that constantly never stopped.

Some argue that it makes our job more interesting, but to me, it just makes me sad.

— Laura Griffin is a student intern with The Compass. She can be reached at

Organizations: The Compass

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