Sorry, I’m not Jennifer Hedger

I can’t decide which I like better—the anonymous phone message from a mother reaming me out because of a mistake in the paper, the parents stopping me at the rink to tell me there’s not enough Muskie coverage, or the parents e-mailing me to say there’s too much Muskie coverage.
Oh yeah, or the reader feedback message I got saying the sports section stunk because there wasn’t enough stories on gymnastics.
When I started this job, I was warned—warned about people who would never be satisfied. And I was urged to not take anything personally.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned since moving here and taking this job, it’s that you can’t please everyone. Because there’s always going to be people who are quick to criticize—and even quicker to judge.
I graduated from journalism school in June. I had a seven-month internship with the Canadian Junior Golf Association in Toronto, then I got my very first journalism job which brought me here to Fort Frances.
The key to that sentence is “my very first.”
I’ve been a sports fan my whole life and I’ve played almost every sport under the sun. However, I’ve been a sports reporter for all of six weeks and have realized that regardless of how much I may love sports, it’s a totally different story to write sports.
With that, I am learning new things every day. I’m making mistakes here and there and although I do my best to avoid them, that’s probably not the last of them.
But with every mistake, there’s a lesson—and that’s the only way I’m going to learn and get better at what I do.
Trust me, there’s nothing more I would have loved then to arrive here and pump out a perfect sports section that met everyone’s desires. In a perfect world maybe.
However, here in the real world, it takes time to get into a routine, learn how to juggle an insanely busy schedule, and adjust to moving 23 hours away from home—leaving my parents, two little brothers, and all my friends.
Needless to say it’s not the easiest thing I’ve ever had to do.
So when I received the incredibly rude voicemail, it was a little discouraging. It really made me wish I was as perfect as this person obviously was when she started her very first job out of school.
I realize that no matter where you go, you’ll come across all kinds—and have decided I just can’t take those things personally.
Don’t get me wrong here— I am more than open to constructive criticism. After all, how else am I going to learn?
I’m not, however, open to uninformed people approaching me and dictating to me how I should do my job, or telling me what does or doesn’t deserve to be covered, and how much should be written about a certain topic.
Unless you have walked at least a day in the shoes of a sports reporter, or until you can produce a piece of paper stating you graduated from journalism school, please let me do my job—and I’ll let you do yours.
On the other hand, I have to take this opportunity to note some of the amazing people I have met since I moved here. Those of you who have taken the time to stop me at the rink, leave a message, or write an e-mail saying how much you enjoy the sports section, or liked my column, or are happy with the coverage.
And those of you who have simply welcomed me to the town, made a point of making me feel welcome, invited me over for a home-cooked meal (because God knows it’s been a while), I have to say thank you.
Thanks for motivating me and thanks for understanding I’m doing the best I can with what I’ve got! It only gets better from here.
Oh, and Merry Christmas everybody.

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