oing on a date with my husband recently made me really start thinking about why I became a writer in the first place. The date was going to the movies and we watched “The Post,” a movie all about newspapers.
I’ve always loved writing. My dad’s side of the family has a reunion every three years and when I was little, I met my uncle who was a published poet. At the time, I wrote poetry about all kinds of things - friendship, love, family. You name it. As I grew up though, I realized being a writer would never pay the bills. Writing came easy to me. I would write whole essays the night before they were due and get an A or a B. Once I got to college and had to make a decision about what I wanted to do when I grew up, nothing seemed as natural as a career in writing. I grew up with newspapers. My parents have subscribed to the town newspaper for my entire life. At one point, I wanted to be a photographer so I cut out newspaper photos and hung them in my room so I could always keep my dream in sight.
Journalism doesn’t pay well, though, so I didn’t want to go into that field.
During my first semester of college in Hutchinson, I had to take an internship as part of my scholarship program so I called the one place I thought I did not want to work, The Hutchinson News. They accepted me as their intern and I was ready to prove to everyone that I was not going to be a journalist.
That plan failed. By the end of the semester, I declared my major as journalism and mass communication and was enrolling in the newspaper class. I love telling stories and I love meeting people with interesting backstories. The more I learned about journalism, the more absorbed I became with telling people’s stories.
I’ve never had dreams of becoming the editor of the New York Times or even writing for them. Actually, I dreamed of working for the Salina Journal. I attended a conference my freshman year of college, where I met Tom Dorsey. He probably doesn’t even remember me. He had just covered a tornado and was speaking about his experience as a journalist covering such a tragic event. He told us “You have to be a person first.” If he would have showed up as a journalist, he never would have walked away with the story he did. When people open up and share their story with people, not just journalists, everyone can gain something.
So that’s why I’m here. To tell the story of people of this community including Junction City, Milford, Fort Riley and all the surrounding towns.
I encourage all community members who know of something or someone interesting to let me know. You can call the Daily Union at 785-762-5000 or email me at email@example.com.
MARIA CHILDS is the Editor of the Junction City Daily Union.