me, life in Alaska is not all that different from life in Michigan, which I
suppose may come as a disappointment to some. I still live in a small apartment
in a small town, working for a community-driven newspaper. That's not to say
there are absolutely no differences. Catching a glimpse of snow-capped
mountains on my drive to work each morning took some getting used to, and not
in a bad way. Any new place or opportunity is what you make of it. I could have
chosen to move to a more populated or busy part of the state, or I could have
stayed to look for work in the journalism field in Michigan, but neither of
those options would have given me what I wanted to make out of my first few
years out of school. I found out I liked small, quirky communities, and not
just the news they have to offer - though chainsaw carving competitions and
music festivals named after fish are unique small-town events I will always be
glad I was there to witness. Since arriving in Kenai, I've fallen in love with
the city, the people, the culture and the seemingly uninhibited wildlife, from
the moose I pass by on late night or early morning walks to fish jumping far
out in the water. I guess I could do without the mammoth-sized mosquitoes, but
Michigan prepared me pretty well for that.
Applying for a spot at the Peninsula Clarion was honestly a shot in the dark. I
can't remember how many companies I submitted materials to before I got a bite.
As soon as I got the call, though, I knew I would regret it for the rest of my
life if I didn't take a chance on the Last Frontier and the Peninsula Clarion
in Kenai. One thing's for sure: I would never have taken the chance to apply so
far away were it not for select, special members of CMU's journalism faculty
who did much more for me in the way of encouragement and support than a
textbook or a degree could ever have done. My boundaries were pushed by my
professors, which I think made me less afraid to push them in real life.
Working a beat at the Clarion is not like working a beat at other newspapers.
One day, I'm making the rounds at the courthouse where the security guards are
getting to know me by the contents of my purse, the next I'm waking to the
sounds of high tide on the mouth of the Kenai River, camped out on the beach for
a story on the dipnet salmon season. This job is as varied as Alaska's culture
and people, and for that I am exceedingly grateful." - Alum Megan Pacer works as a public safety reporter for the Peninsula Clarion