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Northwest Trail

Trail helped past editor work toward future life accomplishments

Matthew Strissel, Editor-in-Chief, 2014

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When I first came to NWC in 2013, I had no intention of pursuing a career as a photojournalist. I originally wanted do tabletop photography, or outdoor and nature photography. However, the Northwest Trail changed all that.

I originally started working for the Trail thinking I would just take photos of sports and maybe a news story here and there. I wasn’t much of a writer and was terribly afraid to even try to write whole news stores. The Trail forced me to face my fears head on, and I came out a much better person because of it. I even won a Region IX ACP Mark of Excellence Award, which was also a national runner-up, for my photography at the Trail.

My sophomore year at NWC I was fortunate to be able to work as Editor-in-chief of the Trail with adviser Rob Breeding. Those Tuesday nights working on the paper were some of the best evenings of my life. Yes, sometimes they were stressful, but the camaraderie with all of the staff members, and the free exchange of creative ideas made it all worthwhile when I saw the finished product every Wednesday. I am extremely proud of everyone who has worked so hard to make the Trail a great student newspaper. I gained more knowledge about true-life experiences while working there than I did in any other classroom setting.

After graduating NWC, I took my father’s advice and just walked in to the local newspaper, The Havre Daily News in Havre, Montana, with a few examples of my work on the Trail and just blindly asked for a job. They said they weren’t hiring anyone at the time, but they liked my work so much that they created a whole new position on the staff for me. There, I was a photographer and page layout designer. That never would have happened with any other job if it weren’t for the skills and experience I gained at the Trail.

After working for the Havre Daily for about a year, I decided that I would like to further pursue a career as a photojournalist, and that I need a Bachelor’s degree in order to do that. After seeking the advice of my former professors Rob Breeding and Anthony Polvere, I decided to attend Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, Arizona (Go Lumberjacks!), to study journalism with an emphasis on photojournalism. I am currently a photographer for the NAU student newspaper, The Lumberjack, where I am proud to say my photo has been on the front cover. I recently just finished an interview for a management position on The Lumberjack, and next semester I will be the new Print Chief of the paper.

After hearing about the cancellation of the journalism program at NWC, I was extremely disappointed. Not only will I have lost a great source of information relevant to NWC and the Powell area, but I also truly think that we need great journalists now more than ever, and the Trail supplied that need. I am so saddened to think of how many students will be unable to discover their true potential and gain real world skills like I did because NWC no longer has a journalism program.

I will always cherish my time at NWC and especially working for the Trail. It made me a more employable student after graduation, but more importantly it allowed me to find my true passion in life, and gave me the skills I need to pursue that passion. I can’t thank everyone who worked for the Trail before, during and after my time there enough for the hard wok and dedication they brought to NWC.

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The student news site of Northwest College
Trail helped past editor work toward future life accomplishments