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  • Writer's pictureMohammed Fuad

So much to be thankful for


Gazette Editor - Mohammed Fuad

This is the week of Thanksgiving , and I have much to be thankful for in my life. Perhaps the most notable thing I am thankful for is my journalism career, which began when I was hired at The Gazette on Nov. 1, 2022.


I graduated from Rowan University in December 2020 during the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic. I knew that it would be tough to get a job right out of college, since the economy wasn’t in the best shape. That didn’t deter me; I was confident I could land an interview and, ultimately, a job.


Journalism is competitive and tough to break into. While you may believe you are the best candidate for a position, employers may think otherwise. I knew it would be tough but I believed in myself that I would impress potential employers with the writing and editing skills I developed in college.


After 100-150 applications had gone to journalism employers throughout the country, I had not even been considered for an interview, let alone a position. Did that deter me? No. I kept applying, and held my head high.


I did get a job interview, followed by an offer to work at a newspaper in the Ozarks in Arkansas in 2021. I turned that down because I feared moving south alone to a new state, and I didn’t think I had the financial stability to support myself.


Deep down, I knew I wouldn’t get another opportunity like that one, but it was the right thing to do at that time; I wasn’t ready for a big jump yet. This decision, however, was followed by rejection after rejection, to the point where I took a break from the job hunt and focused for a time on making money.


But I did get another interview, with The Gazette in November 2021, for a staff writer opening. The interview went really well and I truly believed I had landed the job and that my big break had finally arrived.


Two weeks later, I get an email: I didn’t get the job.


I admit, it was a little demoralizing. Thoughts crept in like, ‘did I do enough in school?’ ‘Did I make a mistake being a journalism major?’ ‘Should I consider going into teaching?’


Yes, I had those thoughts, but I still believed that I could land a journalism job. It was that self-confidence that made me think I could do anything, so I resumed the job hunt after a six-month break.


Continued rejections wore me down, however, and I thought to myself, ‘well, it’s time for a new career path.’ So I applied to be a substitute teacher and looked into going back to school to get a teaching certificate.


In October 2022, everything changed. I was playing video games when I received an email from The Gazette’s previous editor-in-chief.


“Hi Mohammed, are you still looking for a writer position?”


I pounced on that. The next day, I re-interviewed for the role and I felt the pieces of a career were falling into place. But I remained cautious, and did not let my expectations run high. The next day, I got the call—I had gotten the job. I couldn’t believe it; it didn’t feel real.


Two weeks later, I started my journalism journey and, while it took a while to adjust to the town and the environment, I’ve been fortunate to meet a lot of great people at various town events. I have gained so much experience as a writer and have established my work ethic.

While I was dealing with a heavier workload compared to what I had in college, I was able to manage my time wisely. I wasn’t experienced covering meetings, but I decided to learn and thus expand my skillset to being more versatile.


After seven months, I was content in where I was in life. My career was trending in the right direction. Then I was offered the position as The Gazette’s next editor.


It was a huge step for me, and there have been many bumps since I became editor. I thought I had all the answers, but truthfully, I didn’t. It’s a big learning curve going from writer to editor in a small amount of time. Part of me felt I didn’t know what I signed up for and wanted to give up, but the people around me helped, and I couldn’t be more grateful for their faith and confidence in me.


I recently celebrated my one-year anniversary of working at The Gazette and, despite trials and tribulations, I couldn’t be more thankful for everything that has happened in that time. Had I gone into teaching, would I be happy now? It’s amazing how much life can change in an instant.


All I needed was one chance from someone during the job hunt, to prove that I was the right man for the role. Someone gave me that opportunity, and it has developed into so much more. I can sit here and say that this job is difficult, but at the same time many people would love to have an opportunity like this.


When I sit at the dinner table on Thanksgiving, there’s so many people I must thank. My parents, siblings, friends and even teachers who believed in me. Most of all, The Gazette staff. Their guidance and knowledge in everything has helped me in so many ways. There were so many hard lessons, but it’s all part of the learning experience. They’ve been very helpful in making me the best editor I can be.


I will continue to keep my head high and keep moving along. As much as I’d like to know the answer to everything, you’re always learning. I’m thankful for this journey and the people that have been a part of it.


Mohammed Fuad is the editor for The Gazette. He can be reached at mfuad@hammontongazette.com


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