My name is Julian Olsen, and I currently work as an intern reporter with the Sierra Vista Herald/Review. My desire to read and write — to experience the written word — began at a very young age. I pored over the copy of “Treasure Island” that rested on the shelf next to my childhood bed.
When books weren’t available, I read anything I could. The nutritional facts on cereal boxes and walls of tiny text at the end of pharmaceutical ads were personal favorites. I enjoyed that they challenged my reading level. I always had to be reading something, and the more I read, the more I wrote. It started with carefully crafting the messages inside hand-made birthday cards. It’s been a long journey to getting to cover local news.
In sixth grade I wrote my first biographical report. I covered a general from the Korean War. The textbooks were a little outdated, and I was especially patriotic, so it seemed like a good choice. I don’t remember who I wrote about, but I do vividly remember the research. The thrill of finding useful facts and figures buried between the heavy covers of the classroom encyclopedias. The puzzle of putting it all together into a semi-cohesive paper. Each step of the process only added to the satisfaction. It’s a sense of accomplishment I’ve been chasing ever since.
My middle school and high school years offered more opportunities to conduct research and write papers, but the work felt empty. We were writing just to write, reading just to read. It was soulless. Fortunately, around the same time, the classic rock n’ roll that I had been raised on began to resonate with me differently. The music was all the same, but for the first time, I heard the serious questions being raised by the musicians about the world in which they lived. I started questioning my world, too.
That time of my life left me with an insatiable curiosity about the people who populate this earth — who they are, what they do, and why they are essential. That’s when I started reading the news, reading about people in places I had only seen on T.V. whose choices directly impacted my life. Knowledge of political news and global affairs made me feel like I could hold my own in a conversation.
Still, I was always drawn to reports from the world of arts and entertainment. These people were, in real-time, telling human stories. Stories about people for people. They didn’t just speak about the daily happenings of human beings. They talked about what it meant to be human in a world that’s always changing.
When I paired that idea with what I learned in my English classes at Cochise College, I concluded that everyone has their own art. Everyone has something that’s that perfect combination of pure creativity and systematic mastery, and it’s been the best couple years of my life getting to explore that. Cochise County is teeming with talented musicians and artists – every twist of Tombstone Canyon is full of colorful murals.
I hope to carry that mentality forward into my work with the Herald/Review. This area is full of wonderful people that deserve to have their stories told. They are the people that make Cochise County the vibrant place it is. I may not be an Arizona native, but there’s an inescapable energy to the desert. It’s full of unique life that should be shared.
Julian Olsen is a student at Cochise College and an intern for the Herald/Review.