Meet the new reporter for Montague, Gill and Erving

  • MENDOZA

Staff Writer
Published: 7/30/2021 4:40:20 PM

On the day that I moved out of my Western Massachusetts apartment after graduating from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, my eyes cut through tears to see my world as it was: the final scene of my own movie. I’d packed any intentions of being in the area any longer alongside the school supplies in my moving boxes. After a long, emotional internal struggle perpetuated by pandemic-fueled feelings of unfinished business, I finally willed myself to let go. I was finally ready to leave.

Well, this is anticlimactic.

I’ve been a reporter at the Greenfield Recorder for around a month now after graduating in May. Already, this feels like one of those film prequels where the filmmakers dive into the backstories of your favorite supporting characters.

During my four years living in Amherst, I admired Franklin County as a passerby, enjoying an occasional breakfast at Green Fields Market or a study session at the Montague Bookmill. Now, as a reporter intimately covering the towns of Montague, Gill and Erving, I’ve already started forming a deep appreciation for what I’d only seen at a glance.

I was raised in Gloucester and lived there for all of my life until I moved to Amherst for college. I’m the eldest of two children from a first-generation Filipino-American father and a Jewish mother brought together through art. Their meeting in art school joined together two families that would each carry forth a tradition of creative expression — painters, musicians, actors and writers — that only expands with each generation. When it came time for me to find myself, my love for writing budded as both a product of self-discovery and as some semblance of fate.

Luckily for me, little else could have nurtured a creative spark like growing up in a historic, oceanside, small-town area like Cape Ann. Because of my upbringing, tight-knit communities have always resonated with me personally. That being said, a great part of me has always hungered to be larger than life. I spent the bulk of my teenage days as a dancer who craved the warm tingle of a spotlight on my skin. Later, my blossoming love for basketball made game-winning shots my drug of choice. Even more recently, performing as a musician has reminded me that there’s no sensation quite like feeling important. And yet, being a small-town kid means everything to me.

Part of this contrast entails learning to shine in a place where few can see it. Recognizing how many other people have something to give the world but no platform through which to give it is what helped nurture my passion for journalism. What started as merely a means of expanding my versatility as a writer blossomed into so much more as I immersed myself in its foundation. It didn’t take long for me to view journalism as more of a mindset than an occupation — a wholesome practice of self-control, open-mindedness and independence.

As a small-town reporter, I carry this mentality with me to every interview as I look to grow the community’s voice. I’ve yet to see a day where there isn’t a story to tell. Meeting new people in these “sleepy” towns, having conversations and otherwise being in the loop with everything going on in the area has shown me nothing more than how there’s magic in it all. I believe that if more people put in a little more effort to get to know the world around them, they’d be much happier to be living in it.

I approach starting my relationship with the community the same way I start any: by earning trust. Especially at a time when wariness of the news media hangs heavy in the public consciousness, it feels more important than ever to do my job right. With thick skin, my years of training and the people around me close to my heart, there’s little doubt in my mind that I will.

Now, let’s talk. I look forward to making you proud.

Reach Julian Mendoza at 413-772-0261, ext. 261 or jmendoza@recorder.com.




Greenfield Recorder

14 Hope Street
Greenfield, MA 01302-1367
Phone: (413) 772-0261
Fax: (413) 772-2906

 

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