Meet Valerie Bonk: Community Engagement Specialist
As the community engagement specialist at MCM, Bonk’s beat include business, multi-cultural and youth stories of interest in Montgomery County. Her video reports are featured on the MyMCMedia website, Montgomery Channel 21, as well as on County Report This Week. She also writes the “Of Interest in Montgomery County” blog on the MyMCMedia website.
Bonk is active on social media and often tweets and posts photos from her assignments in the field to keep the community engaged in her work.
You can learn more about Bonk, in her own words, below.
“I’m a multimedia reporter, proud former homeschooler and a Maryland native. My mom taught my brother and I at home K-12 and I enjoyed every minute of it (I’m very grateful). I received my bachelor’s degree in broadcast journalism from the University of Maryland in 2010 and will receive my master’s degree in journalism from Georgetown University in May. Before coming to MCM, I’ve reported for the Associated Press, The Travel Channel, NPR, ABC, CBS, AOL, The Washington Post and U.S. News and World Report. I’ve also been dancing since before I could walk and in my spare time I’m a dance teacher and competitive ballet coach for a local studio.
COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT ROLE
“For as long as I can remember I have enjoyed telling unique and unheard stories. I embrace the challenge of searching for story ideas and meeting interesting people along the way who deserve to be heard. This role interested me because I’m able to dive into Montgomery County and learn new things from community members and share what I learn in order to bring the community closer. There is so much to learn from the diverse population in the County.”
“I think the position is incredible. The opportunities to engage with people in the community are rewarding and unending. There is so much to do and so many people to meet and connect with. I got into journalism to tell unique stories and record history in a way and this job allows me to do both as well as to grow as a reporter. I’m very much looking forward to continuing to engage with those in Montgomery County and learn through the people I meet.”
WHY IS ENGAGEMENT IMPORTANT?
“Engagement to me means connecting and staying in touch with members of the community and learning what’s important to those living in the area. Through conversations and attending events I can better learn from those in the community and bring the information that’s vital to the diverse communities in Montgomery County to your television sets and online at your fingertips. I’m really grateful for this opportunity and I’m very excited to be a part of the MCM team. I’m looking forward to continuing to learn and bring together the diverse communities in the County.”
“Each story has had its own purpose and I’ve learned something new through everyone I’ve met. Some of the highlights so far would be covering the hardworking students of the Wheaton Latin Dance Club, the Montgomery County Council’s historic decision to raise the minimum wage, the opening of a new restaurant in Silver Spring that hopes to bring something unique to the area, the Santa motorcade that brought hope to local children, and a profile on a teacher and her class which is making a big difference for immigrants new to the area.”
“I’m always on email and social media on my phone! I can be reached by email at email@example.com, by phone at 443.800.4944, on Twitter @ValerieBonk, on Facebook by searching my name, and on Instagram at @valerieabonk. I’m always looking for story ideas and new ways to reach those living in Montgomery County. Don’t hesitate to reach out.”