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Rocky View Publishing reporter settles in to county life

It’s been a busy couple of weeks. On Sept.

It’s been a busy couple of weeks.

On Sept. 2, I was staying with family in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, but after a 13-hour bus ride back to Canada with my parents, and then a trip from my hometown of Swift Current, Saskatchewan to my new home in Airdrie, I thought I was ready to start my new job as a reporter with the Rocky View Weekly.

I was all set until I got up for my first day of work, peeked out the window at my snow-covered car, and realized that I hadn’t yet purchased a snowbrush. I didn’t think I’d be needing that at the beginning of September, so I guess I’m still learning about life in Alberta.

The news office always feels like home, though. I’ve been working as a writer as far back as I can remember, when I started ghostwriting press releases for local organizations when I was still in high school.

Shortly after my graduation, I was hired as a freelance journalist for the Prairie Post newspaper, and then started working for the paper full time in 2011 as a reporter and photographer.

My beats included everything from agriculture, education, local news, commerce, and arts and entertainment. I spent the majority of my time attending events and interviewing artists, both local and international. I’ve been fortunate to have had the chance to meet singer/songwriter Joel Plaskett, singer/songwriter Serena Ryder, singer/songwriter Hawksley Workman, singer/songwriter Ron Sexsmith, east coast fiddler Ashley MacIsaac, Kim Coates (from the FX drama show Sons of Anarchy), the band Yukon Blonde, Josh Todd (from the band Buckcherry), singer/songwriter Jill Barber, the band The Trews, and many, many more.

I love live music, and try not to pass up an opportunity to see a band I’ve never seen before.

It helps that my family has been putting on concerts in Swift Current for over a decade now. My mom organizes a regular concert series each year, as well as several annual festivals – a blues festival in February, a summer music festival, and an internationally recognized kite festival in June.

Music – as well as an appreciation for the arts in general – has been a part of my life for almost as long as writing has. While I’ve never been very good at playing a musical instrument, I can create art – and have, since I was young.

I started out just drawing and painting, but eventually starting experimenting with a camera.

Photography is another passion of mine, one that I’ve discovered a little more recently.

Some of my favourite subjects are prairie landscapes, trees, and vehicles; I can find something to photograph pretty much anywhere.

My fine art photography has been exhibited in galleries in Canada and in the US.

Working for a newspaper gives me a great opportunity to combine my interests in writing, community, and photography, and share it with other people. After taking the past year to focus on freelance writing and photography, it’s exciting for me to be a part of an editorial team again, reporting on things that are happening in a place where I live. Building connections with people is such an important part of this job for me, so if you see me out and about doing interviews and taking photos, please come say hello.

I’m still learning what Airdrie has to offer, but it’s always fun to learn about a new community – and a job like this provides plenty of opportunities for community involvement. Already this week, I’ve attended a Rocky View County Council meeting, and learned more about the Red Ribbon contest at Chestermere’s Fall Country Fair.

And I’m learning about the unreliable ‘summer’ weather in this part of the country, too.

Jessi Gowan

About the Author: Jessi Gowan

Assistant Editor
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