A big change for a city boy


I never really thought of myself as someone who would be living the small-town life.

I grew up in the downriver area, south of Detroit, and spent a lot of time out with my friends there. These are people I’d known from high school, conventions, the arcade, or even from the Internet. We would hang out at each others’ homes and chew the fat, certainly, but we would also regularly go out to the Ann Arbor and Metro Detroit areas to check out events and activities. I’ve never been heavily outdoorsy, so for years the idea of living somewhere up north didn’t even strike me.

After finishing up my bachelor’s in journalism (with a minor in Asian studies) at Wayne State University, I spent some time freelancing for the local newspaper. Eventually I added a few more freelancing jobs to my schedule, producing articles for local online news pages as well as indulging my classic video game hobby by writing pieces for gaming websites.

In addition, I had become something of a fixture at the Southgate public library. I started working there in high school, and it helped put me through college and funded a few vacations to other parts of the country and Japan. Nevertheless, after finishing my degree, I had been really itching to get out and put my training to use.

Naturally, after so many years with the library it has been a sea change to start work at a “big-boy job” with the Arenac County Independent as a full-fledged reporter, and I am incredibly excited about it. The bigger shock for me, however, is proving to be the move from the area where I have lived my entire life. Longtime friends and close relatives are a bit farther away than I’m used to, but while I won’t be able to run to the comic shop or a restaurant with them nearly as often, I believe that this community has a lot to offer me, and vice versa.

Relocating also provides me with the chance to really spend some time on some hobbies that have fallen to the wayside lately. I’ve always been interested in local history and stargazing, and with fewer distractions I believe I can spend more of my free time into studying foreign languages and learning how to repair and mod some of my older video game equipment.

One of the things that always struck me as particularly fascinating about journalism is the wide array of topics and activities that even a single workday can involve. In the two years I spent freelancing after college, my appetite for that kind of work was whetted to the point where, starting here, I almost am not sure where I want to begin. There is a common misconception that there aren’t a lot of things going on in small communities; but there is always a story to tell if you dig deep enough.

Moving to Arenac County and striking out on my own with a new career is quite a change of pace, certainly, but I am confident it will make me a stronger person and a better journalist.



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As a fellow "city boy" who lived in metro Detroit for most of his life before moving to Northern Michigan, I can totally relate to your experiences. Welcome aboard!

Jeff Patrus

News Editor, Oscoda County Herald

Tuesday, November 1, 2011 | Report this

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