From bells to bylines

By Matt Harrelson

December 30, 2013

Matt Harrelson

Staff Writer

The start of 2013 was a bit of a rough patch for me.

I began the year the same way I ended the last one: unemployed. It wasn’t for a lack of trying though, I can tell you that. If there was a place to apply in Richmond County then I applied there. For the majority of the year, my job was finding a job. I worked at R.W. Goodman’s for a couple of months, but with them going out of business, I knew that wasn’t going to last. I spent most of my days scouring the paper looking for any kind of lead. How funny is it now that I’m working for that same paper?

I’ve been involved with a local handbell group called the Sandhills Ringers for a few years now and I thoroughly enjoy it. I’ve been playing handbells since I was in third grade so I’m actually pretty good at it. One afternoon during one of our many practices, the editor of The Daily Journal, Kevin Spradlin, walked into our practice to take pictures and write up a small story on our group. I didn’t think much of it and continued practicing like I always do.

On his way out, though, Kevin mentioned that the Journal was looking for reporters at the paper. Anyone who could put a couple paragraphs together, I think he said. I figured that’s something I could do and why not, I’ve looked everywhere else. Well, here I am almost two months later and I love working as a general assignment reporter for the Richmond County Daily Journal. I enjoy the deadline driven atmosphere and I’m assuming I’m doing at least a decent job because I haven’t been fired yet.

All kidding aside, I’m very glad and appreciative that Kevin walked into that handbell room because otherwise I might have never known about the opening. I can honestly say that at the start 2013 I didn’t think I’d be working at a newspaper, but it’s music to my ears.