When given the assignment to shadow a profession of my choice, I knew I wanted to take the opportunity to see through the eyes of a reporter. I became declared as a journalism major last spring and was excited to finally see what I was really signing myself up for. After emailing and calling a variety of journalists, Andrew Dowd of the Leader-Telegram generously offered to let me shadow him on Monday and Tuesday of this week.
I’ve always admired journalism but had never been in a real newsroom, so I was unsure of what I’d be walking into before taking my first step into the Leader-Telegram Monday afternoon. I was relieved when Dowd welcomed me through a door into a relaxed, comfortable atmosphere. One of his coworkers giggled to a video of cats on Facebook while others debated on whether donuts should be brought to the office on Wednesday or Friday. Half of the large office space was empty with open desks, giving me an idea of what the Leader-Telegram’s staff had once been back when printed press was at a much higher demand.
Andrew Dowd and I sat by his spacious desk while he talked to me about his experiences in the journalism field. He’s been a Wisconsin resident his entire life, studying journalism at UW-Eau Claire after growing up outside of Madison. After writing for The Spectator for two years and graduating from UW-Eau Claire in 2004, Dowd has stayed in Eau Claire and been working as a reporter for the Leader-Telegram for nearly 13 years. He spent his first five years covering the county government, followed by five years covering city government. He’s now back working in county government in addition to being in charge of the Leader-Telegram’s quarterly Business Leader magazine.
Dowd’s biggest piece of advice for me was to join The Spectator’s staff at UW-Eau Claire. Passion rose in his voice when he talked about different articles he had written for them in the past and he encouraged me to take the opportunity to do the same. After viewing his work and the work of his coworkers, I too think it would be a really great learning experience for me to join The Spectator and continue to expand my experience with writing and reporting.