Friday October 31, 2014

New journalist joins staff


Thom Barker has joined Yorkton This Week as a reporter.

Barker, 49, was born in Regina, and has an extensive background in journalism.

While Barker has a degree in Geology, he said once out of college his career evolved into high-tech which took him to Austin, Texas.

“I was managing technology for the police department,” he said.

However, Barker said while he was doing well working in the field of technology, he said he realized “I wasn’t fulfilled.” He wanted a change.

“I realized I always wanted to be a writer,” said Barker, adding he wasn’t going to make that happen by just writing after work as a hobby.

Barker had always had an interest in writing having been a reporter, and then an editor at the newspaper at Carleton University. He said he was the first non-journalism student to hold an editor position for a full year.

So Barker headed back to Canada, and for a time wrote freelance, but soon recognized what his resume lacked was experience.

“I didn’t have any actual work experience,” he said.

After sending out “hundreds of resumes all across Canada,” he said he got his break at a newspaper in Smithers, B.C..

“I was a Peter Parker looking for my J. Jonah (Jameson),” he said, using a Spiderman reference.

The experience at Smithers was good netting Barker a dozen Canadian Community Newspaper Association (CCNA), British Columbia -Yukon Newspaper Association and Suburban Newspapers of America awards.

“My pride and joy out of all those 12 awards is the Best Feature Story in 2008 from the CCNA,” he said.

The story was about the Ian Bush case in Houston, B.C.. The 22-year-old was shot in the back of the head while in police custody.

Barker was already living in Yorkton when an opening was created on the Yorkton This Week staff when reporter Chris Putnam left to pursue further education.

“I came to Yorkton because my wife had a job here as a nurse practitioner,” he said, adding after living apart for a year because of careers, “I followed her to Yorkton.”



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