Letter to the Regina Press Club scholarship committee

To whom it may concern:

   We called this kid named Carmen Pauls up from the minors one-third of the way through the season. We needed to shore up our defence, and were hoping for some extra production, too. A small-market team like ours doesn't have to win all the time, I always say, but we have to put up a decent fight to keep the fans coming back. That's why they love us.
   Wouldn't you know it, the day that Pauls arrived, one of our regulars went down with a hamstring pull - and we were facing the Braves and the Indians in back-to-back series. "The summer stretch is going to be hopeless," I said.
   In walked the kid, fresh-faced and happy to be here. She'd hitched a ride from down south, and still had dust on her shoes. I said, what the heck, throw her into the game and see what happens. What could go wrong?
   She went 3 for 4 in the first game with 2 RBI. The next night was 3 for 5 with a homer. Two days later, another 2 RBI. And the kid filled in at the hot corner like she'd been born there, loving every minute of it. Not many hitters blew one past her, and you know what? There wasn't a bunt single all year down that line. Not a one.
   Pauls didn't play like a kid. She had all the courage and calm of a seasoned veteran. Of course, I knew I'd never keep The Kid. She'd outgrow us like last year's spikes, I said…

Well, Carmen did say this wasn't to be the usual sort of reference letter. Please accept this in support of Carmen Pauls' application for a scholarship from your organization.

Carmen Pauls worked for me as a reporter during last summer at the La Ronge Northerner, the community weekly newspaper here. My first impression of Carmen was very positive. In fact, she turned out to be a lifesaver. The very week she arrived, our newspaper was swamped with work, and within 15 minutes she had her hands literally full of paper: leads to track down, stories to confirm. She did not bat an eye, but eagerly rolled up her sleeves and got to work. This energy and work ethic will serve her well in any career.

Yet not just any career will satisfy Carmen. She needs to talk to people. She revels in interesting stories, and she desires to learn things that she didn't know before. It is more than simple curiousity; she sincerely wishes to make a difference in the lives of other people, and journalism is certainly an appropriate avenue for her.

She takes her job to heart. I recall one instance when a local administrator called her to complain about some perceived inaccuracies in a story. Carmen brought the issue to my attention, and although she felt that she had done everything properly, she asked for my opinion. Carmen's first concern appeared to be ascertaining whether or not she had indeed erred, and if so, what could have been done differently. In fact, I feel the complaints were unwarranted, but the incident speaks much about Carmen's professionalism.

Although neither effusive nor aggressive, Carmen believes in speaking her mind. She will not agree merely to be agreeable, nor will she disagree just to assert herself. She strives to see the other side of the coin. Fairness, I believe, is an objective that comes naturally to Carmen, and that is possibly the most important quality for a journalist to have. She will not choose to be a mudslinger - unless, perhaps, she is invited into the puddle.

In closing, journalism will never be "just a job" to Carmen Pauls. She has chosen journalism as a career, and she did not choose lightly. I have never doubted that Carmen not only wants her reporting to be good reporting, but that she also wants her reporting to matter to readers.

Our industry will be well-served by this young lady, and I recommend her for your scholarship.

Thank you for your time. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact me.


Scott Boyes
Publisher and editor
La Ronge Northerner
La Ronge, Saskatchewan