Hello Albertans! My name is Carlie Connolly and I’m excited to announce that I’m the newest addition to the Red Deer Express.
I’m originally from Oakville, Ontario, and attended the University of Kings College in Halifax, Nova Scotia to study journalism for four years. Once I graduated I worked at the entertainment magazine Hello! Canada downtown Toronto for my three-month internship, which was part of our school’s requirement. Working at Hello! was definitely glamorous, having heard those around me talk to celebrities daily. I too got my small star-studded moment as I was sent off to a studio downtown to interview HGTV’s Property Brothers for the Most Beautiful issue. Talk about a fun start to journalism!
While at Hello! I applied every lunch hour to jobs across Canada, eager to enter the world of journalism. I finally got a call, and it was for a small paper based out in Medicine Hat called the Cypress Courier. While there, I got to return to my country girl roots, attending rodeos and fun outdoor concerts, while of course covering both town councils in Redcliff and Cypress County. It sure was a blast.
After almost a year, I made my way out to British Columbia to beautiful Sidney, another small area, but one that covered a much larger area known as the Saanich Peninsula. It was at the Peninsula News Review that I started really honing my skills as a reporter and learning the ins and outs of my career by covering a wide range of topics. While there I had the great privilege of photographing the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Prince William and Kate Middleton as they arrived for their Royal Tour of Vancouver Island. I’ve also had a great experience interviewing the likes of Jann Arden, George Canyon, Brett Kissel, Valdy and more. I was there for almost two years before deciding it was time to take that next leap, which led me back to Alberta, a place I already feel at home.
Looking ahead I thought about not only what I want out of my career, but where I want to be in my life. That answer was Alberta. I’ve always been a country girl at heart, having done horseback riding all my life (both English and Western). When I saw the Red Deer Express was hiring, I without a doubt jumped at the opportunity and applied.
Even though I’ve just arrived, I’ve really enjoyed the big sky and the sun, something Vancouver Island didn’t have much of. I also enjoy the open roads, and getting to drive over 80 kms an hour. I might be thinking differently when I slip on black ice or feel that -40 degree weather!
One of the things I’ve enjoyed most about my career as a journalist is the sense of community. I love meeting new people and hearing their stories. To me, community news is the best kind of news as it appeals to the local audience and hometown heroes.
I should also say, I didn’t come out here alone. My incredibly supportive and loving boyfriend, Brandon, is here too, which helps a lot as he can be my tour guide, having lived in Red Deer for a few years.
This leads me to one of the many reasons I decided to come back to Alberta – family. The two of us have some family in the area, which is important, as sometimes you just need that support system. And family to me is number one on my list of importance.
My immediate family unfortunately is out in Ontario, but I Skype and call them regularly.
Although the drive from B.C. to Alberta was very harrowing with snow on the Coquihalla Hwy. to transport trucks coming from every which way, we made it, and I couldn’t be happier to be back in Alberta.
I look forward to meeting you all!