STORY & PHOTOS


STORY & PHOTOS

BY

MADELYN P. HASTINGS

YOUNGSTOWN

As my final week at The Vindicator begins, I’ve had time to reflect on my experience in Youngstown. It was a whirlwind of an adventure, to say the least.

I was fortunate enough to cover the presidential election within my first month on the job. I watched Paul Ryan, Republican Party nominee for vice president, eat his weight in chili dogs at the Hot Dog Shoppe in Warren and then later cause a controversy by participating in a photo op at the St. Vincent de Paul Society food bank.

I was able to witness our president make an incredible speech, and fought my way through a crowd in 90-degree weather at the Canfield Fair to get a photo of Vice President Joe Biden.

I’ve had to cover many funerals of those who died too soon, fatal car accidents and fires, which helped me realize just how uncertain and fragile life really is. Those moments will stay with me forever.

I’ve had the incredible opportunity to capture the happy moments as well: the soldier holding his baby daughter for the first time in a year, and the two smiling faces full of happiness and love, a moment only a mother and son could share. Those are the moments that helped me realize how much I truly loved my job. How lucky am I to be able to tell these stories for the rest of my career? I surely collected a wide array of memories during my year and a half at The Vindicator.

Working in Youngstown gave me the opportunity to work side by side with amazing professionals in the journalism world. I’ve learned a lesson from every single person in the newsroom, and for that I am extremely grateful. I couldn’t have gotten by in this field if it weren’t for the unbelievable personalities I’ve encountered on a daily basis in this wonderful city. Youngstown truly has integrity and moxie bursting at the seams.

I started in this field during an interesting time. Technology is constantly surrounding and overwhelming us, leaving newspapers as a media source often on the back burner. During my time here, I have seen many friends from college laid off in a career they have only just begun. I would be lying if I said the thought has not crossed my mind about changing the path I was given for something more substantial. Thankfully, I was constantly reminded that none of us here is doing it for the money.

Every individual in this newsroom is pushing forward because he or she has a true, growing passion that fills you up, and none of us would give that up for the world. Telling stories is what we do, and what I hope I am able to continue to do for the rest of my life. Sure, the media format will change eventually, but there always will be a need for storytelling.

I want to show my gratitude to every single person I have met during my short time in Youngstown. You have given me the strength and desire to continue on in this insane world and keep pushing myself to do better. You all have inspired me to stay persistent, taught me life-long lessons, and helped me learn from my many mistakes. So, with ink-stained fingers and a heavy heart, I can fondly say: Thank you, Youngstown.

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