If there is one thing in life I know for certain is that I am not perfect. A subset of that is that there will always be someone better than me.
One day as a youngster my mom was driving me home from a little league baseball game and I was crying about losing because I was under the impression at the time, age 13, that the world revolved around me.
Our team had lost, not because it just wasn’t our game, but that team was lousy, and I hated losing, still do. On the drive home in the family minivan, that I would eventually drive to high school, my mom pointed out an extravagant fact that I carry with me today.
“Jonathan, there is always going to be someone out there that is better than you at baseball,” my mother told me as she craned her neck slightly to relay the message from the driver’s seat to where I was in the back. “There is always going to be someone faster, stronger and better than you at tasks in life for your whole life.”
At this point I am crushed. What the heck, Mom!
This is the person who has supported me through everything in my life (including decisions I made later in life that she may not have fully condoned) and now she is telling this fat blonde boy that he’ll never be the fastest person.
“All you can do is be the best Jonathan I know you can be,” she said. That’s right, it turned into a sappy moment between the two of us. I was still upset and slammed my bedroom door and cranked Led Zeppelin when we got home from the field.
I know I will never be a writer like Bill Shakespeare or F. Scott Fitzgerald. It’s also unlikely I will uncover anything like the Watergate Scandal or the Pentagon Papers. It’s not out of the realm of possibility, but it’s a bit of a longshot.
However, I know how to report, and I know the role of a good journalist. My job is to keep the public informed on what is going on in their community and hold the people in power responsible for their actions.
As former Sentinel editor Gary Nelson told me, “this is the only business that puts their work on display for public critique every week.”
Part of this job is coordinating with local authorities and getting information out to the public. Another part is deciding what to publish and what to hold.
Last week there was a search warrant in Grantsburg and we put a press release in the paper. The police report was then filed, and I wrote a story on the search warrant with all the details people were expecting the week before.
I have been reporting in many different environments for several years now and I know that I will continue learning in this profession. When I’m wrong, which I hope is minimal, I’ll admit my mistakes. I’m a human and will continue to grow, make mistakes and learn from them.
If you would like to discuss how I do my reporting or how the Sentinel office operates give me a phone call at 715-463-2341 or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.