When you combine 8-and-a-half hours’ worth of of frustration, confusion, stress, satisfaction, thought-provocation and anticipation/eagerness, you’re going to get the same caliber of “worn out” that I’m feeling right now. Today felt like actually working for a publication.
On the first day, I learned of Saki’s involvement in collaborating “hyperlocal” journalism with national stories. The Huffington Post Media Group also owns a website called Patch.com, which employs writers to report on very proximal and specific stories within their respective communities. Patch outlets haven’t gone completely nationwide yet; they predominantly exist on the east coast and in parts of the Midwest. Since we’re all under the same corporate umbrella, we can use stories from these Patch sites to attach local points of view to larger, national stories. This can be difficult, though. While the caliber of reporting is almost always good, one must rifle through endless reports on PTA meetings and Bake Sales before finding whatever it is that they’re looking for. That’s where some of the frustration came in: it took me a long time to find these local points of view to use as pieces of the puzzle that will become tomorrow’s story. Luckily, though, I found a good amount of information and will spend the majority of tomorrow morning conducting phone interviews, compiling everything and eventually writing this son of a bitch. Saki had a story due this evening, so he was pretty tied-up today. Luckily, he’ll hopefully be able to help me interview and write tomorrow. We’re supposed to have about 2 to 3 of these Patch-integrated stories published a week, so if we don’t get this one on the Web by tomorrow, we’re looking at a rough Thursday and Friday.
It’s hard to “have your cake and eat it, too” when you’re a reporter. That became very apparent to me back on the TigerPrint in high school; conducting great interviews, telling compelling stories and seeing your name on the byline is exhilarating, but the essential research needed for those compelling stories can get rough. Had I written on the Kansan this past year, today might not have been so taxing. I hadn’t done this kind of research for a story since I wrote last, which was my senior year of high school. I just want to instantly fall asleep tonight so I can get into the newsroom tomorrow and knock this mofo out of the park. I have a feeling that once we finally get a story out together, things will become more routine. After a few of these bad boys, I have a feeling I will become better-acclimated to this fast pace and will be able to report at a high-quality, yet comfortable, level. Keep in mind, the last time I worked for a publication, we had at least three weeks to fine-tune each story. This is different, this is the real deal. I’ve got a day-and-a-half max for each story.
Excuse me while I go sleep harder than I’ve ever slept in my life. Hopefully when we speak next, this story will be live on the Web. Cross your fingers for me.
All the best