Sarah Grochowski, editor of the Aldergrove Star, is up for a New York Emmy award – recognizing her work as an associate producer on a documentary segment about the opioid crisis around Harlem.
The achievement comes after Grochowski spent several years in the Big Apple, working for numerous publications and media outlets including the New York Daily News – the city’s widest circulating newspaper.
The 27-year-old was raised in the very community she now writes about and fittingly got her start in the business by delivering the Aldergrove Star when she was young.
Her passion for journalism culminated from an International Studies degree at Trinity Western University (TWU) and extensive travel around the globe.
“Common threads I’d say are wanting to help people in need and amplify new voices. I want to do things that matter and tell stories people might not have heard about, that they should,” Grochowski said.
After exploring a wide array of topics through TWU’s publication Mars’ Hill, Grochowski was able to continue her journalism studies at King’s College in N.Y.C., where she later penned an exposé
An interest in the film industry led to a production assistant position, and within months, work as a producer with BRIC Arts Media’s BRIC TV channel in Brooklyn.
“The visual impact of a story can make someone have chills, whereas with writing you have to work very hard to visualize a story for readers,” she explained. “There’s a lot more room for impact with film.”
At BRIC, Grochowski helped assemble projects for the public access channel’s B-Heard Town Hall features, discussed during live TV by guest activists, politicians, celebs, and scholars.
Her 10-minute segment titled Highway Mike, is a portrait of a formerly homeless man battling an opioid addiction while performing outreach to prevent overdoses at an abandoned park in Washington Heights.
“It was a team of five,” Grochowski explained. “It was a mixture of emotions; I was grieved but honoured to be able to capture such a pertinent story.”
The segment was produced in May of 2018 and went on to earn official selection distinctions at the Docs Without Borders, Socially Relevant, and Social Justice Film festivals.
“There are no interviews – it’s not a traditional reporter’s package. But more of an eye-opening, visual journey. A day in the life of Highway Mike,” Grochowski added.
She explained that a team of news execs at BRIC applies for what they think is fitting, and put Highway Mike up for consideration in the Societal Concerns Feature Segment category.
While she is doubtful she’ll attend the actual ceremony, Grochowski said she is honoured by the nomination and that the recognition only fuels her passion to make more documentaries and telling human stories in the future.
“I am still as dedicated today as I was then,” Grochowski said.