Meet Danielle. Danielle Paquette.
The first time I “met” Danielle was in my narrative journalism class, when I read an article she wrote about an exotic feline rescue center in snowy, small-town Indiana.
Intriguing, right? But whatever Danielle writes about captures your attention, because you can tell how much she pours herself into each article. She isn’t just writing words. She is providing the reader with eyes that capture vivid details – the frostbitten ear of a tiger, the flecks of dirt on a Chevy Trailblazer driven by a man who is weary with post-coffee coma.
She doesn’t report the news, so to speak. She brings our stories to life.
When I met Danielle in person, four months later, her persistence and tenacity was something that couldn’t help but inspire me to fall in love with the power of storytelling all over again! Not only is she a phenomenal journalist, she’s a young woman who truly cares about those around her.
So here’s Danielle, letting us into her life to catch a glimpse of her newest transition – filled with cop cars in Pinellas County and the twisted strands of facial hair from a man in his quest for bearded fame.
How does the word “movement” fit into your life, especially any changes that have happened over the last few months?
Movement—it’s scary and frustrating, exciting and joyful. Since graduating from IU in May, I’ve lived in three cities. I re-organized my life from home in Indianapolis, drove out to Los Angeles for a summer internship and then back across the country to Florida, where I’m working now at the Tampa Bay Times.
Movement to me is growth. If I hadn’t left my comfort zone (and believe me, I didn’t initially want to), I wouldn’t have my dream job now. It doesn’t pay much, but I couldn’t be happier reporting for a phenomenal newspaper. I’m growing every day.
What are you currently doing and what brought you there?
Since I pretended to be Harriet the Spy in first grade, I’ve wanted to be a journalist. I love writing and I love people, so it’s the perfect combination for me.
What brought me here? Seven internships and the belief it could actually happen.
What is one goal you have this year?
That’s a tough one. Big picture goal: I’d like to build a fulfilling life in a totally new place.
Florida is foreign to me. I want to master St. Petersburg by next November. I want to make great friends, try new things and find the perfect brunch spot. I want to regularly practice yoga and finish 30 books. The next 12 months (one-tenth of my 20s!) are about self improvement.
Currently, who/what do you draw inspiration from? When you wake up in the morning, what pops into your head and gets you saying, “Today is my day!”?
Amy Poehler. Tigers. An incredibly talented roster of Times reporters.
But the best inspiration comes from my dad, who does so much and stays so cool. He tells me not to take myself too seriously, to do everything with love, to not worry about others’ opinions of my work and personal life and shoe choices.
It’s much easier to succeed, he says, if you shut up the pressure-voice (“WIN A PULTIZER OR FAIL”) and live at your own pace.
What is one thing you know to be true? What is your statement of faith that drives you to keep doing what you’re doing?
You can do it. (That’s it. Don’t tell yourself it’s impossible. It’s not. Just look straight ahead, right at the prize, and take one step and then the next…)
What is something new that brings Joy to your life?
Sharing my life (the personal, non-journalistic one) with total strangers. I recently moved into an apartment connected to an older couples’ home. Now, I eat breakfast with them and co-host concerts in their living room. Their warmth is another reminder: Love exists around every corner.
Thanks, Danielle! Can’t wait to read your future articles and your Pulitzer prize-winning piece, which I have no doubt will happen.
Read Danielle’s work!
Man Dedicated Life to Saving Exotic Cats, featured in the Indiana Daily Student
For Clearwater Man, the Beard’s the Thing, featured in the Tampa Bay Times
The Shepherd’s Lamb, featured in the Indiana Daily Student and winner of the 2011 Hearst Journalism competition
**Check back in tomorrow to read about another Strong Girl moving in big ways. Miss reading Shervin’s story? Check it out; be inspired.**
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