Person of the Week

Minal Gandhi-Shepard

Writer and Editor

I mustered courage to say aloud (and to my parents): “I have no idea what I want to learn in college but I know it’s not this.”  Surprisingly, it took me only a couple weeks thereafter to decide that journalism was my calling.

1.  What led you to the mission of being a writer and editor?

During the first week of my third year of college, I found myself floundering. I was failing in school; I was confused and I felt trapped. My chosen field of study — computer science — wasn’t clicking. But I was in my third year of school, and my parents were paying my tuition! What about all the time I wasted? But I was at a crossroads, and decisions had to be made. So I mustered courage to say aloud (and to my parents): “I have no idea what I want to learn in college but I know it’s not this.” Mom and Dad were worried. I asked them to give me time, and they obliged. Surprisingly, it took me only a couple weeks thereafter to decide that journalism was my calling. It was in my face all along — since junior high, actually, when I was a staff writer for the school paper. I enjoy reading, I love to write and I’m talented at making something good sound great.

2.  What does this mission mean to you?

Whether I’m selecting news stories for the front page of a paper, writing a freelance article for a magazine or posting updates on my family’s blog doing what I do is about connecting with people. That’s my mission and I do it through words.

3.  What was your best day as writer and editor?

One of my best days was getting a call from the director of the Chips Quinn Scholars program who told me that I’d be an excellent candidate for the Maynard Media Academy fellowship at Harvard. So in 2008, I joined several other journalists from around the country in Cambridge to learn how to be a better journalist, editor and manager in the newsroom.

4.  What was your worst day as writer and editor?

My worst day was seeing ethics being compromised at work. My employer had initially asked me to do my job a certain way for “ethical reasons,” but almost two years later, after buyouts and staff cuts, those ethics no longer seemed to carry much weight. That’s when I realized that the journalism I fell in love with was dying.

5.  How did you make it through your worst day?

It wasn’t instantaneous, but I eventually found another job, outside of newspapers.

 

 

7 Comments

  1. Barbara Sheets 06/17/12
    1:10 pm

    It is so important to find our talent in life and how wonderful you found yours. Good job.

    Reply

  2. Maureen Jordan 05/25/12
    8:41 pm

    Your story brought back memories of my second term in college where I had gone to pursue my dream as a kid: to be a veterinarian. I came home that spring and had to tell my parents that I was getting failing grades in those hard science and math classes and I would need to change my major. I remember the disappointment in their eyes. But, when I changed majors and got all A’s the last term of my Freshman year, they were ecstatic to read the letter from MSU that I made the “Dean’s List”. We both became successful pursuing what we love in the end!

    Reply

  3. Love that you followed your dreams. You’re awesome and know I love you. xxoo

    Reply

  4. Go Minal GO! Way to fight for what feels right!

    Reply

  5. Karen Peirce 05/21/12
    10:48 am

    Lovely, brave, honest, intelligent Minal — I’ve also written but not with your passion … aloha nui, KP

    Reply

  6. You Rule Minal!

    Reply

  7. You are a very brave woman who found your bliss and made the changes necessary to become a writer and editor. What a wonderful example of activating and achieving your mission!

    Reply

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