Baptism of fire ousts Danielle’s doubts

December 16, 2016

Baptism of fire ousts Danielle’s doubts

Danielle Clent was initially unsure about her career path. Photo: Supplied

On her first week at work Danielle Clent employed some good old shoe-leather reporting skills.

Armed with a tip, she simply drove to the address of her possible story subject and knocked on the door. The result: a front page story about a woman who had unexpectedly given birth in a fruit market parking lot.

The story gained national prominence when it also featured on the Stuff website.

Danielle, a reporter for the Nor-west News and Western Leader Fairfax community newspapers, got the full-time job straight after completing her Bachelor of Communication Studies at AUT. It’s the perfect fit for 21-year-old: she was born and raised in the papers’ catchment area. As well: “I really like writing about people, and that’s what’s important with community news,” she says.

But if you think Danielle’s path has been an easy one, you better think again.  At the start of her final year of the three-year degree, she began to have major doubts about chosen career. “I was really stressed; I didn’t think journalism was for me,” she said, “all my peers were doing so well, and I just didn’t feel on the same wavelength as them.”

However, she resolved to stay the distance. “I’ve always wanted to do well at university, and I wanted to pass.” She also took counsel from lecturer Richard Pamatatau, who encouraged her to persevere. Said Richard: “the team recognised Danielle had a faultline to cross, and once over it, would fly”.

And indeed she did. Then came an internship at the Western Leader – where again she began to have her doubts. She still wasn’t sure that the newsroom was the right place for her. However, a baptism of fire soon convinced her otherwise. “I was thrown in at the deep end – and that was the best thing for me.” Off she went to conduct a political interview. By her second day as an intern, she knew she was on the right path.

The newspapers she works on cover a wide geographical range, which is reflected in the scope of stories she has covered: everything from a child abduction to strawberry farmers preparing for Christmas.

“My moments of doubt have now all gone,” says Danielle. “I’m definitely happy where I am.”

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