"A Novice Journalist" is the re-branding effort of the non-profit general news and information website, "The Novice Journalist" created by Justin K. Thomas in 2017. We continue to adhere to our founder's demanding vision of ensuring ethical journalism while telling the story of the human condition. We will continue to bring you stories not regularly read in national and local newspapers or magazines.
"As a young teenager, my dad gave me his Minolta X-370 as a means to focus my anger and unhappiness in a positive direction after a family tragedy occurred. Graduation from high school approached and I wasn't sure what to do with my life. So, I went to the military recruiter's office to find structure and a job that could fit my new hobby.
The recruiter stated that Photographer’s Mate was a rate (job title in the Navy) but I would have to work for it after being a Flight Deck Airman. He also said that there were plenty of opportunities to succeed as a Sailor and a "picture-taker" so long as I kept a positive attitude and worked hard.
I started my career aboard an aircraft carrier photographing various events such as flight deck operations, reenlistment ceremonies and developing the photos that were taken by the Tactical Airborne Reconnaissance Pod System (fancy phrase for a large high-speed camera) attached to the under-belly of F-14 Tomcats.
After leaving the ship, I transferred to Washington D.C. where I accidentally merged into a Secret Service or Diplomatic Security Service convoy (long story) and met interesting media personalities and public policy-makers.
I was then fortunate enough to become a combat photographer. Good and scary times. But it was the place that I really learned my trade-craft. After Combat Camera, I took orders to another ship and served as an assistant public affairs officer."
Life After The Military
"Since leaving the Navy, I moved around for a bit up and down the East Coast trying to find out who I am. Lots of philosophical debates regarding the purpose of my life, if God is real and what will happen to me after this life.
Currently I am attending Old Dominion University wrapping up a degree in Public Relations, Persuasion and Advocacy. Thanks for stopping by, I hope to provide you with compelling and interesting content.''
- Media Placement Specialist - College of William & Mary
· Used innovative managerial skills to market the political, economic and national security expertise of the university’s faculty members to the media. Several of those experts were featured on cable television and in print news outlets such as Fox Business, Al Jazeera America, The Washington Post, Atlanta Journal-Constitution and San Francisco Chronicle.
· Developed and produced the college’s first-ever video news series that focused on the American presidential election titled “Presidential Priorities.” Within the same week of publication, nearly 100 subscribers were added to the university’s official YouTube channel.
· Wrote over 20 news articles, three of which were published on the websites of Phys.org and the Philippine Daily Inquirer.
- Assistant Public Affairs Officer - USS WASP (LHD 1)
· Served as a photo and copy-editor to eight communications specialists who created nearly 900 written, photographic and video broadcast news products for civilian media outlets on behalf of the U.S. Navy.
· Coordinated the visual, written and branding aspects for Navy Fleet Week events in the cities of New Orleans, Boston, and New York City.
· Formulated and implemented a divisional budget plan that saved the organization nearly $13,000 in expenditures over a three-year period.
- Combat Photography Team Leader - Navy Expeditionary Combat Camera
· Led a team of 14 specially-trained coalition combat photographers as a squad leader and photo editor. Through teamwork, the unit improved coverage of battlefield operations by over 60 percent in both Iraq and Afghanistan.
· Directly documented the actions between coalition and enemy forces with photography and video cameras.
· Provided prudent and logical public relations advice for junior to mid-level military officers when interviewed on and off-camera by media outlets such as BBC, CNN and the ABC television network of Australia.
Digital Imaging Specialist - Office of Naval Intelligence
· Photographed various Department of Defense events in the Washington, D.C. area as assignments dictated.
· Compiled and organized visual information with programs such as Adobe Creative Suite and Microsoft Office to manage data deemed critical to national security.