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Behind the Byline: Petaluman happy to be reporting for hometown paper

Behind the Byline

Behind the Byline is a new occasional feature in the Argus-Courier, giving information about the writers, editors and photographers of the Argus-Courier. It will run on the fifth Thursday of the month, whenever those occur. The next Behind the Byline story will appear on Thursday, Dec. 30, 2021. The focus will be longtime Sports Editor Johnie Jackson.

Staff news writer Amelia Parreira officially joined the Argus-Courier team in early September. In addition to covering Petaluma news as News Editor, her duties include working as a sports multimedia specialist for Sonoma Media Investments, which owns and operates the Petaluma Argus-Courier. Last week, Community Editor David Templeton spent some time with Parreira, asking some questions about her background, interests and pastimes, and what attracted her to a career in journalism.

Petaluma Argus-Courier: Starting with some basic background stuff, you have lived your whole life in Petaluma?

Amelia Parreira: Well, I was born at Kaiser Permanente in Santa Rosa, but my parents raised me in Petaluma. I went to Casa Grande High School from 2008-12. I have been here my whole life, except for when I transferred from Santa Rosa Junior College to Cal Poly. I started there in 2014 and graduated in 2016, then I came back up here. So except for those two years, I’ve lived in Petaluma my whole life, yes.

PAC: We know you have some background in local theater, which we’ll ask you about in a minute, but when did you develop an interest in journalism?

Parreira: I fell in love with writing when I was 7 years old. I remember my second grade teacher, Mrs. Madison at Miwok Elementary School, gave us time every day to write in a journal. We could write whatever we wanted. We could write short fiction stories, or write about our lives. I loved it, but it wasn’t until I was a freshman in high school that I decided to choose a path of journalism. I originally decided to pursue sports journalism, but I fell in love with news when I started working with the Santa Rosa Junior College Oak Leaf as a sports editor, and then worked on the Mustang News at Cal Poly. I recently spent two-and-a-half years at KCBS radio as a news producer.

PAC: What do you like about it?

Parreira: I really like being able to inform the public on important issues, and giving people the information they are interested in and need to know about. I’ve enjoyed every moment I’ve spent in all the fields of journalism.

PAC: When you were working for KCBS, were you working in San Francisco or working from home or some of each?

Parreira: Some of each. I was most in the City, working at the station, because as a producer, you have to be there in person to make sure the anchor has what they need, to make sure the news desk is managed correctly. At KCBS, I not only booked live phone interviews with different officials and politicians, but I also wrote the anchor scripts, and I did some off-the-air interviews for stories that would later go on the air. I really enjoyed my time there, but I’m so excited to be here at the Petaluma Argus-Courier. I grew up with my parents getting the Argus every week, and the Press Democrat every day. So it’s part of a lifelong dream to write for the hometown newspaper I grew up with.

PAC: Has your journey towards a career in journalism been relatively easy or has it been hard at times as you’ve forged your pathway into the news business?

Parreira: I wouldn’t say it’s been easy. To establish yourself in journalism means putting in hours and hours of hard work, creating positive relationships with people in the industry, getting out into the community and talking with different people. I have been fortunate. Of course, going into sports journalism as a woman is not easy. I had an internship at KNBR sports radio, which I was very lucky to land, and I got to interview some great athletes, like Simone Biles and Gabby Douglas. But I definitely think being a woman in sports journalism is a bit more difficult. It’s a very competitive field, and I suppose if I had to name any obstacle I’ve faced, it would just be that, breaking into that. I’m very grateful to all the people who’ve supported me and given me opportunities along the way.

PAC: From your experience, are opportunities and working conditions for women interested in sport journalism getting any better?

Parreira: I think things are getting better. I look up to journalists like Kate Scott at KNBR, who I got to work with as intern. She goes on with Murph and Mack every morning. I also look up to Laura Britt who’s on NBC Sports Bay Area, working with the Sharks and doing pre-and-post-game coverage for the Giants. So I definitely think things are starting to move in a better direction, where women are given more of a chance in sports journalism.

PAC: You are still keeping a foot in sports, of course, working with the Press Democrat on the occasional sports story, but how are you enjoying your new role as a news reporter?

Behind the Byline

Behind the Byline is a new occasional feature in the Argus-Courier, giving information about the writers, editors and photographers of the Argus-Courier. It will run on the fifth Thursday of the month, whenever those occur. The next Behind the Byline story will appear on Thursday, Dec. 30, 2021. The focus will be longtime Sports Editor Johnie Jackson.

Parreira: I love it. I’m glad to be where I am. I feel I have an important role in sharing different people’s stories.

PAC: A few years ago, the Argus-Courier ran a story about an SRJC production of “In the Heights,” and you were one of the performers interviewed. You’ve been in a few other shows, including Spreckels Theatre Company’s “Peter Pan” in 2018. Is performing something you’d still like to find time for now and then?

Parreira: I definitely do, but probably not during this part of the pandemic. I’m going to wait until things have settled down a little. But yes, performing is something I really enjoy. I wanted to do theater in high school, at Casa Grande, but I was such a shy student back then, I didn’t take the chance. That’s why I started taking theater classes in junior college, and then started going out for auditions. In addition to “In the Heights,” I was in the JC’s production of “The Little Mermaid,” and then, yes, “Peter Pan” at Spreckels. That was a lot of fun, so I definitely do hope to do more of that sometime in the future.

PAC: Where do you see your journalism career taking you? Are there other media experiences you’d like to pursue down the line?

Parreira: You never know where life is going to take you, right? I’m very happy where I am right now, working in my own community, a community I know and love, talking to people I’ve known for years. Like, I already know a lot about all the City Council members, because some of them have been household names, literally for me, for years. When I was producing, I definitely missed writing, seeing my stories in a physical print newspaper. But I’m interested in all platforms of journalism, including online journalism, so I’m eager to see what I can bring to the Argus-Courier with the interests and experience that I have.

PAC: If there was one thing you’d like readers to know about you, what would that be?

Parreira: I want them to know that I care about this community. I want readers to feel like they can come to me with a story idea, or a news tip. I want them to know they can trust my news reporting and that I’m here for them.

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