This interview has been edited and condensed.
Julia Taliesin is the only multimedia journalist covering Somerville, Massachusetts for The Somerville Journal. She graduated from Simmons College in 2018 with a degree in journalism.
Q: How do you balance your day-to-day life?
A: It is a challenge. I would say I have gotten better at it. It was harder at the beginning, for sure. This is also my first job in my field after college, so it was really a crash-and-burn type of learning; it was tough. But honestly, I have had to get really good—and I am still learning—how to say no, even when it is hard. I can not get to everything, and I have had to forgive myself for that.
Q: Are you working on anything that you are particularly excited about?
A: There are so many things! It sounds really boring at the start, but the city actually just passed a comprehensive zoning overhaul. Because of the development boom that Somerville is in, I think it is very important for me to understand it enough that I can cover it in an ongoing fashion. Another story I am working on right now is a sexual harassment case. I feel like it is a big responsibility when someone comes to you with a story like that, but I have been trying to do it justice.
Q: What do you like about Somerville?
A: Pretty much everyone I have met has no trace of apathy. It seems that everyone really believes that what they have to say and what they are advocating for is going to make a difference. It is just easy to write stories when people are that passionate.
Q: How much do you care about what readers want to read? How much do you tailor your story ideas?
A: Everyone wants something and everyone thinks that their thing is the most important; I can not be swept in that current, but at the same time I have to pay attention to what people want to be reading and what people are interested in. But, of course, I care! I do pay attention and I ask people constantly, even if I can not incorporate all of it.
Q: What was your job search process like?
I got this job through a networking connection from someone who knew that a position was open, and I think that was what got me the first interview. Then I had another interview as well as a story I had to write for them. So it was a very long process, but networking connections are real—believe your professors!
Q: Is there anything you wish you had done differently in college?
A: I went to Simmons. I think I really needed a liberal arts education because I went to school undecided. I guess in a way, I wish I would have come to journalism sooner, but the fact that I did not let me learn a bunch of other things I would not necessarily have taken.
Q: Do you have any advice for your younger self?
A: Learn how to say no faster. It is okay that you can not get to it all. You are doing your best and that is enough.
Q: Do you think that working at a smaller publication for your first major job has given you a more well-rounded experience as opposed to one at a larger publication?
A: I do not have anything to compare it to, but I would say yes. Just based on the [number] of things I have had the chance to write about and learn about, absolutely! I have bylines that range, so I really get the chance to tailor the clips that I offer whenever I do get the chance to apply for other jobs.
Read Julia’s work at The Somerville Journal!