Lucky to not work for 33 years

Charlotte Ferrell SmithA column by Charlotte Ferrell Smith, reporter for the Charleston Gazette-Mail

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Thirty-three years ago this month, I began working at the Charleston Daily Mail.

I did not ride a dinosaur to the Charleston Newspapers building as I have told some of the younger reporters. However, following my job interview I did take a writing exam on a typewriter.

When I was in journalism school at the University of South Carolina, I was sometimes encouraged to choose a different major due to a tight job market in my chosen career. I was determined to do what I loved and I have never considered a different profession. I have often said that if I switched jobs I would have to work for a living. I have been so blessed to have fun in a profession that has meant learning something new nearly every day, meeting a variety of people, facing challenges and sometimes just savoring surprises along the way.

I was born at the right time to enjoy the ride along the road of a career I have loved for decades. I have savored the thrill of breaking news, the joy of feature writing, the camaraderie of the newsroom, and the smell of fresh ink on newsprint.

I have written about everything from food, exercise and religion to education, crime and animals. My beats have ranged from “hard-to-find people” to “pot-bellied pigs.”

There have been times I felt I truly earned my pay and other days I could hardly believe I got paid for having so much fun…

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