No longer the new kid

By Ashourina Slewo

If you had asked me during my last semester at Wayne State where I thought I would end up after graduation, I would not have an answer for you. I have great passion for journalism, but for a 20-something fresh out of college, you are usually met with rejection or unpaid internships and to a certain extent, even passion is not enough.

That’s where I was.

That is until I got a very brief email from my professor asking me if I would be interested in writing for The Chaldean News.

Of course, and I didn’t fully realize this until my first day, but I wouldn’t be writing just for The Chaldean News. But I would be writing nonetheless and nothing made me happier than the thought of actually being able to put my degree to work and do what I love.

Cut to May 10, one day after commencement, and I’m being interviewed for a position with Denha Media Group. I felt so flustered and I was so sure that I had put my foot in my mouth several times during the interview, but I survived.

Less than a week after graduating from Wayne State University, I found myself sitting across from Vanessa Denha, an award-winning journalist and my new boss. Not only would I be writing for a number of publications, but I would be learning the ins and outs of the PR world. A world I knew very little about as I majored in journalism.

The most amazing part of this for me, though, was that I would be learning from a woman leader in the industry. And a Chaldean one at that.

Over the course of one year, I have asked an endless amount of questions, most of which might have been stupid (sorry Vanessa), and learned so much. I have been fortunate, though, to work in an environment in which each question was treated as an opportunity to learn.

All that I have learned in this last year definitely matches up and, in some cases, surpasses the things I learned in a classroom. From learning how to write a press release over the phone because Vanessa was at the Mackinac Policy Conference to dealing with difficult people who I was scared would sue me or possibly beat me up, I have been lucky to experience a multitude of things at Denha Media Group. (I did not get beat up or sued, thankfully.)

To be working with someone who is so understanding and so willing to teach has been amazing. I like to believe that I balance all my stupid questions with my hard work and sometimes poorly timed humor. Although, Vanessa tells me that my questions are not stupid because she admits that even her questions could be deemed stupid by others.

I am so excited to continue learning and growing as a journalist. I look forward to the next year with Denha Media Group.

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