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From the desert to the valley

POSTED June 12, 2009 8:46 p.m.
By now you might have seen my name in a few bylines in the Turlock Journal. I am the new education reporter, and I started the day after Memorial Day. I came in on that first day expecting to sign a stack of papers, fill out my W4 form and be in and out in about an hour. Boy was I wrong.  
On my first day I was given a press release and told to call the contact number and turn it into a story for the next day’s paper. Several of the contacts for that story were in countries as far away as Zambia, and my few hours of signing papers turned in to a full 8-hour work day. I have been busy ever since.
I was hired to replace Mike Gale as the Journal’s full-time education reporter. But most schools in the Turlock Unified School District and other districts in our coverage area are already out for the summer, so I get an odd assortment of story assignments. In my first two weeks of work I have covered a paper mache cow contest, summer camps, a sheet metal company winning an award, and I have taken more graduation photos than I care to think about. Not that I don’t respect the achievements of high school graduates, but does every high school in the city of Turlock have to hold graduation on the same night? You make it very hard on your local reporters. But I digress...
I was born and raised in Barstow, a small town in the Southern California desert. Two years ago I decided to seek out greener pastures and I wound up in Turlock at California State University, Stanislaus. Turlockers like to ask me why I chose Stan State, and I can honestly say it’s a better school than most Central Valley residents give it credit for.
At CSU Stanislaus I got involved in journalism and became editor-in-chief of the Signal newspaper on campus. Last summer I went home to Barstow and did an internship at the Desert Dispatch, our local daily paper. I guess I’ve been hooked on reporting the news ever since.
So here I am now, a reporter at a newspaper in a town that I hadn’t heard of until two years ago. But I can honestly say that I like it here. Working at the Journal has taught me quite a few new things about the city that I have called home since starting college. First of all, I learned that I can get around Turlock without using the 99. I used to get on the highway to get from Walmart to Main Street. Secondly, I have discovered a local phenomenon called the taco truck. I had no idea that such good food could come from the window of what looks to me like a mail carrier’s van.
I look forward to getting better aquatinted with Turlock, the Journal, and our readers. If you see me at your local elementary school, or covering agriculture at the Stanislaus County Fair, feel free to say hello. You can also drop me a line at agoodwin@turlockjournal.com, or call me at 634-9141 ext. 2003.

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