Hello Houston! I am so glad to be reporting in Pleasant Valley, and eager to hear your stories.
I shadowed reporter Rikki Schierer here for a just few days last July and August—a hot summer, hard to imagine now.
I was a student intern, fresh from the air-conditioned halls of a Vancouver journalism school.
From day one, chasing Houston news made most of my student reporting (“Bookstore Prices Stagnant!”) look like a textbook exercise.
Outside it was a thirsty, stay-in-the-shade summer day. Kids were splashing into Irrigation Lake. The black bear we met trundling up Mountainview Drive looked very overdressed in fur.
But on 11th Street, people were hard at work in the midday sun, laying sheets of bright blue insulation over the foundation of a new Houston seniors’ home.
A set of orange-capped pipes stuck up in different places, marking the new geothermal system that would heat the suites in winter.
Everyone on site was a volunteer.
I drove up from the Cowichan Valley on the B.C. Day weekend, in a tiny Tercel that purrs like a sewing machine and has horsepower to match.
I laughed as I rounded the last corner of Highway 16 into town—there was the home all finished and lived in.
Now I know that even in big cities, people get involved in their community.
I found my niche at a Vancouver community radio station, where I wrote book reviews for a new music magazine. This last year, I joined the crew of volunteers at Shaw TV, filming MLAs and other politicos at the Victoria legislature.
In a town the size of Houston, community events have a bigger impact, and I think they reach a wider set of people.
Already I’ve had several people tell me to try the amazing Indian food served at Pleasant Valley Restaurant.
I can’t wait to cover the Houston Drag Raced, a huge event started 15 years ago by just a small clutch of gearheads at the B.V. Cruisers Club.
I am lucky to start at a time when The Houston Today will be expanding our coverage, from council stories to Luckies games and profiles of people in the community.
It’s rare for me to write much about myself in print—I prefer to be the one behind a camera.
But I can say that I started racing my dad to the morning paper early on. At first, it was just to read Calvin and Hobbes. All that changed with the 1998 war in Kosovo.
That story struck a chord, and got me reading papers daily.
Today I’m a huge fan of podcasts. I subscribe to everything from Radio Lab to CBC’s The House and This American Life.
On the whole, I think journalism is still righting itself in the wake of Craigslist and even 24-hour TV news.
But if podcasts can bring new life to radio, newspapers are next.
I look forward to shooting video stories for our online edition, and to connecting through social media.
On that note, if you see a tall fellow looking slightly lost with a camera and a notebook in hand, come by and say hello.
Better yet, let me know what’s going on. Tips are always welcome at email@example.com.
Finally, best of luck to Rikki as she heads to Victoria. She’s been a great help, and leaves some big little shoes to fill!