I was lucky enough to work with Alex McKinnon.
I shared my time as a cadet journalist at the Guardian with Alex when he was the Editor in Chief.
What an amazing guy he was.
I wouldn’t be where I am today if it wasn’t for Alex and many journalists owe their budding careers and university degrees to this man.
Alex was an advocate for journalists in regional WA and he pushed to have the opportunity for people in regional areas to study a university degree in journalism.
This opened up so many opportunities for not just journalists here in Geraldton but all around the state.
I started out as a freelance photographer with the Guardian when I was just 17, that’s where I first met Alex. He was a journalist in amongst the ‘Bullpen’ AKA the newsroom, and it wasn’t long until he moved to the position of the Editor.
I remember when Alex got me to write my very first published piece. I wasn’t a journalist, just a photographer, so I was chuffed at the opportunity he had given me. Thanks to Alex, it wasn’t long until I was offered a full-time position as a Cadet Journalist.
I’ll never forget my first official day as a full-time journalist. Alex showed fellow cadet Taylor Courtland and I around the Geraldton Newspapers offices and that morning he handed me a piece of paper with three article leads and off I was.
Taylor and I were among the first cohort of cadet journalists to start with the Guardian and we are now both nearing the end of a Bachelor of Communications majoring in Journalism through the Geraldton University Centre. And many cadets around the state have since followed us.
Alex was a mentor, a teacher and most of all, our friend. He is by far one of the most talented and intelligent people that I’ve ever had the opportunity to work with.
It never felt as though Alex was our superior. He was always on our level and was warm, easy going, easy to talk to and always knew how to have fun.
He gave me opportunities that I could never thank him enough for.
I can recall the news meetings every morning. All of the journalists would sit in Alex’s office and we would discuss our upcoming stories. Alex was always full of wonderful ideas and he pushed us to be better journalists.
His generosity and kind personality put him in great stead with so many people in the Geraldton community.
I have since moved on from the Guardian and with that decision I always had Alex’s full support. We remained friends and his encouragement and support throughout my career so far has been something that I have valued.
Alex always had a smile on his face and was the life of the party.
Alex was living in Vietnam when he passed away on Saturday, September 27th.
We lost a teacher, an inspiration, a mentor and a friend.
Thanks for everything Al, we’ll miss ya.