Archive for May, 2008

SUMMARY: what i learned this week, May 19-23

Things I learned this week…

1. Story ideas are SO important.

2. People are often away from their offices when you try to call them.

3. Waiting for people to call you back (and not being sure if they will even you call back) is pretty nerve-wracking.

4. I’ve come to really look forward to Thursday/Friday early days.

5. My usual dependence on reading the newspaper to gather story ideas didn’t work this week… 😦

6. It’s hard to really have fun and enjoy yourself at an event, as fun as how a carnival should be, when your on the job.

7. Parents’ are usually pretty good about wanting their kids’ cute picture in the paper.

8. I not only read the Edmonton Journal, the Edmonton Sun, and the National Post every day, but I listen to Edmonton’s only All News radio station whenever I’m in the car now. (iNews880!) (Well, i switch between iNews880 and 91.7 The Bounce, Edmonton’s #1 hit music station, common now, can’t cut that off completely :D)

9. If the Internet craps out on you, you’re basically screwed. You can’t do anything.

10. Man abandoned me on Gmail. But I guess I am not as vulnerable without talking to him now. I’ve learned to manage my time pretty well without chatting on Google mail at this point.

More next week…


May 27, 2008 at 5:24 pm Leave a comment

RECAP: my third week at a small newspaper

Hello blog visitors.

My recap of this past week:

Monday, May 19:
No work! Long weekend holiday, it was great. 🙂

Tuesday, May 20:
Since we lay out our newspaper on Wednesday, and given that we lost Monday due to the long weekend, as soon as I came in on Tuesday, there was a lot to do. I had my own story idea that I wanted to work on, along with a story that was assigned to me on Friday. Then at the story meeting Tuesday morning there was a few stories up for grabs so I offered to do two of them. Totaling my story count for this week to 4, yay!

This day was very busy. I had to come up with questions for all the different people I wanted to talk to about the 4 different stories, and then I had to call everyone to conduct the interviews and get some quotes and it turns out …

Every single person I called I got sent to their voicemail or their secretary or someone said they weren’t in.

It was not a fun feeling. I literally called about 10 different people and all 10 of them were unavailable.

Thankfully after lunchtime I started getting phone calls back so I was busy interviewing for most of the afternoon.

Tuesday was a pretty busy day, I had something to do for the entire 8 hours I was there! Actually I was there for longer because I had to go to a rehearsal for one of the stories I’m doing and take pictures of the kids during rehearsal so I didn’t get home until around 7:00pm.

But overall I enjoyed Tuesday because I really wasn’t bored at all and I actually didn’t have the now-familiar fear of having nothing to do.


Wednesday, May 21:
I did a few more phone interviews in the morning today and then transcribed all of the interviews I had done since yesterday, which didn’t take as long as I thought it would.

I then pretty much worked through lunch (well I ate lunch while writing my stories), and was finished everything by 3:00pm.

Problem was we don’t get the pages to lay out until 5:00pm so I reverted back to my reading the newspaper and surfing the Internet looking at news related websites (Entertainment-based news however, I really wish I could just have a column writing about reality TV shows and stuff, sigh.)

By the time 5:00pm rolled around I couldn’t even start work on laying out pages because the other two reporters and the editor were all using their computers with InDesign (and remember my computer doesn’t have the working InDesign so I have to use one of their computers).

The other news reporter had to go cover a meeting but not until 6:30 so I basically wrote the first portion of this blog while I waited for her to leave so I could use her computer. Sadly I asked if there was anything I could do while I waited and the editor said, No, Sorry. 😦 I mean, I don’t blame him; there really wasn’t anything to do.

But sigh, I really hate having nothing to do.

Thursday, May 22:
And so goes the weekly routine of Thursday copyediting, reading newspapers, trying to think of story ideas for next week, and then going home.

Unfortunately this Thursday I couldn’t think of any story ideas.

The editor wanted us to think of senior citizen-related stories because Senior’s Week is coming up and the only thing I could think of is really more Edmonton-related than St. Albert related and other than that, the idea-well was dry and I was scared.

As previous weeks has proven, if I don’t have my own story ideas, then I’m basically screwed and I get nothing to do the next week which sucks because…

1. I have nothing to do and am forced to revert back to extreme boredom.
2. I have no stories to add to my portfolio and clippings for the week.
3. Not having story ideas makes me look bad to the editor and I don’t want to look bad to the editor or to anyone.

Needless to say, I was pretty bummed out at the thought of going to the story meeting on Monday and saying Yeah… I don’t have anything…

Friday, May 23:
Nothing to do on Fridays but this Friday we had to wait till about 1PM to go over to the Rainmaker Rodeo to pick up media passes for the weekend. It turns out they didn’t have the passes ready for us yet so they just told us when we come down to cover the event then we can pick up our passes then.

Also, the Internet was down yesterday and today so from 9AM till the time we went to get our media passes, none of us could go on the Internet so it was pretty excruciatingly boring and we all realized how dependant we are on the Internet in order to function.

Oh, so this week’s paper was all nice and published today and the picture I took for my Alice in Wonderland Jr. preview story was the cover photo! I also really liked the story I did about the musical; I’d put it as one of my favorite stories I’ve written at this paper so far. Maybe I’ll add a link and picture to the cover on here before I post this. (Note: I am writing this blog at work to kill time).

Today I also asked my editor if I could go on vacation (June 25-July 1 and August 1-10) and he was fine with it so I was pretty happy but I was also kind of worried because with the looming fear of not having a story idea I didn’t want to look like the girl who doesn’t have story ideas but also wants to go on vacation, you know?

I mean as far as having story ideas goes, I’ve had ideas for stories every week that I’ve been working at this paper so far and I think that’s pretty good, I mean back at J-school coming up with one story idea for my class assignment was probably the hardest thing I faced that semester so the fact that so far (up until this point) at this job, I’ve had story ideas, I think has been really impressive for me. Or at least, helped me look like a good intern..

I wonder if the last intern this paper had, had new story ideas every week?

Sunday, May 25:
I usually work at my parent’s restaurant on the weekends but I had to take Sunday off because it was my day to go down to the Rainmaker Rodeo (and Carnival/midway) and take pictures for the paper. I got there pretty early, about a half hour after the gates opened, so there wasn’t anyone there for at least an hour and I ended up just walking around, surveying the area. At first the batteries for the camera that I was taking were all still in their chargers at the office and they buttons were still red and not green, indicating they weren’t fully charged yet, so I was worried the batteries would crap out on me early and I’d have to come back to switch.

The first battery I used did crap out on me and I did have to go back to the office to grab some other ones but the office is only a 5 minute walk from the rodeo grounds so it wasn’t too awful or anything.

I ended up getting a bunch of cute pictures of kids on rides with the permission from their parents.

In my Photojournalism class at J-school everyone would always complain and be weirded out by the fact that our teacher was expecting us to snap pictures of complete strangers and then go up and ask for their permission/ the spelling of their names but it turns out when you do it for an actual newspaper publication as opposed to a photojournalism class, it’s not as weird and it’s a lot easier.

(I mean, what sounds better, ‘Hi I took a picture of your kid for my photography class, could you tell me your kid’s name please?’ or, ‘Hi, I’m with the Saint City News, I was wondering if I could get the spelling of your child’s name in case the picture is featured in the paper?’ – second one right!)

Anyway, so I ended up doing that for a few hours – just taking pictures, talking to parents, and I also bought myself a corndog, mini donuts, and a wallet from the marketplace. Yay.

At one point I accidentally called someone’s son a daughter, (he looked girly, I’m sorry!) and at another point I asked a parent for permission to take their kids’ picture and the parent was like ‘You already asked us an hour ago!’ to which I said ‘Oops, oh really, I’m sorry!’ Seriously, kids look alike.

Went back to the office, uploaded the pictures, labeled them with the kids’ names, and then I went home to rest for a few hours before I went to work the evening shift at my parent’s restaurant.

Thus ending my third week working as an intern at a small newspaper.

May 27, 2008 at 5:20 pm Leave a comment

SUMMARY: what i learned this week, May 12-16

Things I learned this week…

1. There are rude people who don’t want to talk to you but you have to learn to deal with it.

2. When I ask someone a question and they go into a long 5 minute explanation giving background information and moving the direction of the conversation away from what I actually wanted to know, I need to steer the conversation back to my original question, rather than being like Oh Okay, and moving onto my next question.

3. Staying later on Wednesdays really isn’t bad at all when I get to leave early on Fridays.

4. I still transcribe and write at a very slow speed for fear of having nothing to do.

5. Payday is a very happy day, and so is Friday when I cut out my story clippings from the paper. 😀

6. Even if something is happening outside of work hours, offer to do it.

7. I would really be quite lost if I was asked to go to a sports game and write a story about it.

8. I need to work on my posture while sitting at work, as well as learn how to change my damn answering machine.

9. Writing up my blog during free time hours at work is a very good idea.

10. Read newspapers thoroughly, not only to become more informed, but to look for story ideas.

More next week…

May 16, 2008 at 8:00 pm 2 comments

RECAP: my second week at a small newspaper

Hi everyone.

So on Thursday after I copyedit and read the newspaper for story ideas, there’s not much else to do after that as that week’s paper is going to press later that day, therefore, I decided, why not use this time to write my blog so that it doesn’t take so much of my after-work time to write? Best idea I’ve come up with to date, I’d say, which is kind of sad. Anyway, here is a copy & paste up of what I was working on Thursday afternoon:

Monday, May 12:
When I came in on Monday, the sports reporter, who is pretty close to my age (he graduated J-school in 2006), said he read my blog. I didn’t hear him at first but when he repeated it, it completely hit me that I forgot he and I are friends on Facebook now and I advertised the blog on there. Whoops. Then again, I didn’t say anything bad about him or the other reporter, or my editor, or anything. Because that wouldn’t be professional of me, blog or not 😉 Haha, so giving a quick shout-out right now, Hi Todd.

I will still be referring to everyone I work with in these blogs as ‘sports reporter, other news reporter, editor’ and etc, though.

Anyway, as the day started off, we had our little story meeting, I pitched my two story ideas, actually I had three story ideas but it turns out my editor was already planning on working on one of them and when I said Oh, I was planning on looking into that actually, he let me take it, which was nice of him, and good because I didn’t want to not have anything to do if I finished my other stories too quickly.

With the four stories I wrote last week, I still had an exponential amount of spare time, so with only three stories to write this week, you can imagine how much extra time I had to spare. Luckily my whole time managing, scheduling out what I would be doing for the hours, and reading the other newspapers thoroughly, I managed to get through the Monday fairly kept-busy, and definitely a lot less bored than I was last week.

Still though, I won’t lie. I had to work extremely slow in order to make sure these stories would last me/keep me busy until deadline Wednesday. I think one day I just need like 10 stories assigned to me with 3 days to write and see if I’d still need to work slowly or not.

Also: My cousin, who I’ve been talking to on Gmail chat, quite religiously since my job started, was absent on Monday so I was short one thing that keeps me busy that day.

As well, there was a very rude lady from Greyhound that I tried to ask a few questions to on the phone and she flat out refused me. I mean, the story isn’t even controversial or anything. It wouldn’t have made the company look bad or, you know whatever acceptable reasons there are for people to refuse to give a comment to a reporter. I just had basic –need-a-statement-about-so-and-so questions and she didn’t want to talk. Rude. But I guess it’s a part of the industry.

Tuesday, May 13:
The stupid lady from Greyhound who was rude to me on the phone on Monday, was rude to me today when I tried to call and get a few statements from her about my transit/gas story. When she rudely told me she wasn’t interested and hung up on me, I was both angry, as well as bummed out because I thought I wouldn’t have enough information and sources for the story. The story turned out all right though, a lot better than I originally thought it would, and actually it ended up being put on the first news page in the paper this week! So, yay. But still, I wish that lady hadn’t been such a cow.

Even though I had two stories to write today, I still ended up working very slowly to transcribe my interviews and write the stories, for fear of having nothing to do. I think I will always work at the slowest pace I am capable of in order to fill these 9:00-5:00PM days.

The other story I was working on, which was an RCMP story, I was pretty happy with because the RCMP people I called to talk to were really good with calling me back and had a lot of information to tell me.

Both the transit story and the RCMP story, I came up with the ideas for myself so I was pretty happy about that, except this also worries me because if I don’t come up with my own story ideas then that means I don’t have anything to do. Which means I always need to have a story idea for every week and well, that’s kind of a daunting feeling.

Wednesday, May 14:
Last week I had 4 stories to write, this week I only had 3, so by Wednesday, the day stories are to be finished written, I had indeed finished writing all of my stories for the week and was indeed trying to find something to do to kill the time.

Wednesday’s everyone stays late to put the stories on the page layout. Last week I couldn’t stay because there wasn’t enough computers with InDesign that would allow me to work. This week, the sports reporter and the other news reporter both had events to go cover at around 5:00/6:00PM, so their computers, with InDesign, were free for me to work on.

So I did. I laid out stories and some photos on pages 17-25 of the paper (this week’s edition has 42 pages I think. Last week’s edition had 52 pages.) The sports reporter came back from his event when I was working on page 23 I think, so he took his computer back and I went over to work on the other news reporter’s computer. When I finished my assigned pages, I asked if I needed to do any other pages but the editor said no because everyone else is assigned a certain number of pages to lay out, so I finished my work and got to go home!

I make that sound like I got to go home earlier than usual or something but I didn’t because we can’t start laying out pages until after 5:00PM therefore… I didn’t leave till just after 7:00PM.

Also: Coming up with catchy headlines during school was hard for me so the headlines I ended up writing for a lot of the stories I laid out on the pages were… blah to say the least. But at least it got the information across. I think coming up with headlines and decks takes the longest for me – page layout-wise.

Thursday, May 15:
I got paid today! That in itself, was the highlight of my day.

Thursdays are copyediting days, at least for the morning portion of the day. I got to copyedit pretty much the entire paper (I do a copyedit of all the pages, then the pages get passed to the other news reporter to re-check the pages, then passed to the editor who does the triple-check of the pages and then fixes any mistakes found). So despite going as slow and being as thorough as I could during the copyedit, it only took about an hour, and then I was left with nothing to do. I don’t expect to do anything else really on Thursdays since the paper is going to press tonight, no one really expects anyone to start on a new project I don’t think. So I read the day’s newspapers, the Edmonton Journal, the Edmonton Sun, the Edmonton Examiner, and the National Post.

Now when I read the newspapers, I really read them. It’s not the casual skimming of the pages that most people do in the morning while they have breakfast, or at lunch or on their break, I’m reading the papers slowly and thoroughly to well, the number one obvious reason is, kill time. The other important reason is to see if I can take any story that is presented, and give it a St. Albert spin – localize it so I can do a story on it. Basically, reading the newspaper when you work at a newspaper, is not considered slacking off, it’s a great way to come up with story ideas and today, in the morning when I thought Oh no I don’t know if I’ll have any story ideas for next week, by about 2:00PM, I had come up with one story that is current and could be given a local spin. So I was pretty happy.

I also was given a short lesson in how to dig around for story ideas from my cousin in our now-regular Gmail chats.

Extra: I was taught in J-school that when you use a quote from someone, it should be “Quote,” Source said. (source is before said). The only time you put said Source (where source is after said) is if the source’s title is super long because

“Quote,” Linda Hoang, a representative for the Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement, and Logistics Division, said.

Would be way too long and weird. (P.S. Iron Man reference there if anyone caught it, heh :D)

Anyways, so I found that there’s a lot of ‘said Source’ in the articles that I copyedited and I marked those saying they should be changed but, well we’ll see if they are actually changed or not. I guess it’s not that serious it’s just when I was taught something in school for several months, to come out of school and realize people aren’t following that rule, it irks me. But I do know that every paper has different style rules, so.

Friday, May 16:
Today was probably my favorite day because I got off at noon. Before I got off, I attempted to get an interview done before the long weekend started, but the person I was trying to call wasn’t in her office. Therefore, after 2 calls, 1 voice message, and 1 email, I decided I’d just talk to her on Tuesday.

Before my boss told me I can leave early, he cleared up the Source said/said Source issue with me. Basically he said it’s not a serious enough thing that would require a change. So I can stick with the rules for writing it that I know of, but if another reporter has written it the other way, just leave it. And so, that is what I am going to do!

And now it’s long weekend time! 😀

That means the next week is shorter so deadlines will become more of an issue…

but we’ll see how it goes.


May 16, 2008 at 7:50 pm Leave a comment

SUMMARY: what i learned this week, May 5-9

Things I learned this week…

1. First days are bad, but things do get better.

2. Covering conferences and events is very fun.

3. The routine appears to be: interview, transcribe, write the story.

4. I transcribe and write my stories a lot slower than what I am capable of for fear of having nothing to do.

5. Being this short and small makes people think I’m still a high school student.

6. Planning what to do each hour really helps make the time and work go by faster.

7. Gmail (and Man) is my best friend at work.

8. If something comes up, offer to cover it!

9. Don’t write up questions for an interview at home when you have time to do it at work.

10. Read newspapers.

More next week…

May 11, 2008 at 1:21 am 3 comments

RECAP: my first week at a small newspaper

Hey everyone!

Before I start my recap, I want to thank everyone who has visited & left comments (either on here, on Facebook, or messaged me via other methods) so far! 🙂

Also, this blog entry is extremely long and I apologize for anyone who wanted to attempt to read, so I don’t blame anyone for not reading this thoroughly (or at all). I think this entry will really just be for my own look-back in the future and I think my next entries will be less detailed, and in a more… lessons learned, type of format.

Before I go on any further, I’ll explain that at this particular newspaper, there is one editor, one sports reporter, and one news reporter. As I came on board, I became the second news reporter, and myself, the original news reporter, and the sports reporter, are the ‘Editorial’ team. There’s also a publisher, some people in sales and accounting, some people who work on ads and newspaper layout design, and the front desk secretary. The Editorial team and the editor, all have their desks and computers in one open-office area. My desk is pretty much in the prime spot where all of my co-workers and my editor can see what I’m doing at all times. It’s a very small newspaper.

Okay so before I start my recap from Monday May 5, I just wanted to tell everyone that, overall, I really enjoyed my first week working at the small newspaper. Please keep that in mind as you read about my Monday.

Monday, May 5:
This was the most boring day of my life thus far.

(Ha, at least with the above disclaimer, you know it gets better! 🙂 )

Prior to Monday, I had been told that on Mondays there would be a ‘story meeting’. I was also told what my first assignment would be. The newspaper has a ‘Community Awareness’ section that they do every few weeks that basically spotlights a volunteer organization and kind of puts the word out in St. Albert that, yes, this organization does exist and is impacting the community. Therefore, prior to Monday, I had already arranged to do an interview with the executive director at that particular organization for 1:30PM Monday. I had also spent Sunday typing up the questions I planned to ask the director.

Bad idea.

Why? You’ll see.

I got into the office on Monday at 8:30AM and since work didn’t officially start until 9:00AM, I had nothing to do. I didn’t want to go on Facebook or browse the SYTYCD forums and websites like I usually would do on a computer because I didn’t want to make a bad impression. Understandable, right?

I decided then, to transfer my Word file with the questions I had typed up for the interview I was going to be doing later that day, from my USB flashdrive to my office computer. Turns out I had saved the Word file from my PC Microsoft Word 2007, which saves files as .docx and is therefore unreadable on a Mac. Moment of panic. I quickly tried to think of how to fix this problem. On the Macs at school, I had run into the same problems (usually I remember to save them as .doc files for compatability but of course, if a bad thing that can happen in my first half hour of work can happen, it happens.) On the Macs at school they had an automatic converting program that would convert the .docx’s into a readable file for the Mac’s Word, but the newspaper computer didn’t have this. I asked my editor if he had Microsoft Word 2007 but he said he didn’t, and besides, he had a Macbook.

So I had to come up with, and re-type, the questions all over again.

Which, as it turns out, didn’t take me very long.

After I finished typing up the questions, the other reporters had arrived and the story meeting was called. Now during school, coming up with a story idea was the hardest part of the program for me. Interviewing people, that’s fine. Coming up with questions for the interview, even better. Coming up with a relevant and interesting idea to pitch as a story? Terrified of it, and it hurts my brain.

Over the weekend I had come up with one possible idea for a story that I ended up pitching and it was actually pretty well received. The terror subsided and the story meeting quickly wrapped up but, I still had about 4 hours until I needed to leave to do the interview.

And so I sat.

And I sat.

And I sat.

I sat in front of the computer and, for fear of making a bad impression by being caught on Facebook or, as I wrote earlier, the SYTYCD forums/websites, I instead browsed St. Albert-related websites, along with very brief skims of the Edmonton Journal and the Edmonton Sun online.

For 4 hours I did this.

The other news reporter, the sports reporter, and the editor, were all busy doing something on their computers. I contemplated starting on the story I had pitched, but I was scared I would be finished that all too soon and then I wouldn’t have anything to do tomorrow.

As I said, Monday was the most boring day of life. If joking about suicide wasn’t so frowned upon, I would write that I wanted to kill myself. (Well, I guess I wrote it anyway, so there you go, haha.) I wasn’t sure when I would be allowed to take a lunchbreak, and I had forgotten to bring my lunch that day anyway. As I sat there trying to keep my eyes open, I noticed that the editor and the other two reporters had taken their lunches out and were eating at their desks. I panicked, thinking, would I have to eat my lunch at my desk for the duration of my time at this newspaper?!

When it came time to go meet the director of the organization for the interview, I left hurriedly and happily, happy to get out of the office, happy to get away from the front of that computer (which is shocking, as I generally love sitting in front of a computer.)

The interview went well. I thought I asked good questions, I thought I asked enough questions. The director didn’t want her own picture taken for the paper so I was allowed to go down and take pictures of workers and people that were a part of the organization (which I guess I didn’t say yet, but the organization is called the LoSeCa foundation and it helps adults with developmental disabilities.) After I finished at LoSeCa, I drove (sadly) back to the newspaper, but stopped at a 7-11 to buy a wrap for my lunch (which I ended up eating at the desk…)

I transcribed the recording of the interview onto the computer, which I did very slowly because I was finally so happy I actually had something to do, I didn’t want to finish quickly and have nothing to do again. I remembered exactly how painful the extreme boredom I had experienced that morning was, and I didn’t want the scenario to repeat itself again. After I transcribed the interview into notes, I started writing the actual story. I wrote very slowly because, again, I didn’t want to finish too quickly and have nothing to do again. As you can see, the fear of having nothing to do became a dominant theme that day, and when I was 5:00PM and I was packing up to leave, I thought of how I was going to survive the next day.

As you can see, my Monday was awful. It was not that I had too much work to do, it wasn’t that I couldn’t handle the workload or that I didn’t know how to do the interview or how to write the story… it was the fact that I didn’t think there would be enough to do to keep me busy, and this, above all, freaked me out.

Monday was a bad day.

Tuesday, May 6:
Tuesday started off great, which I took as a good sign.

There was a press conference at 9:30AM announcing a new women’s health initative and I was asked to go cover it. I went, it was great, I had a great spot by the stage so my recording was super clear. I asked a few questions one-on-one to the event organizers after their speeches, and just the fact that I wasn’t sitting in the office with my eyes glazed over, bored, like on Monday, was a great feeling in itself.

I spent the rest of the day finishing my story from Monday, transcribing the recording from the conference I went to that morning, writing and finishing the story for that conference, and taking my lunch outside the office, away from my desk (yay!) Even with all of that, however, I still had at least two hours of extra nothing-to-do time at the end of the day before home time, so the fearful feeling came back by the end of the day as I thought of what I could do on Wednesday. Luckily, at the end of the day, my editor got a media email from the Morinville RCMP saying there was going to be a high school drinking and driving mock collision taking place Wednesday morning and media would be welcome. I immediately offered to go and report on it, and my fear of boredom on Wednesday went away.

Wednesday, May 7:
The high school where the mock collision was taking place was outside of Edmonton, further than St. Albert, and would require me to take the highway. I’ve never taken the highway before, so I was kind of scared. At the same time, I was excited because highway driving is something I would eventually have to experience, and I was glad this new job was giving me the opportunity to do it.

I had a lot of fun at the mock collision, just like I had fun at the press conference on Tuesday. It was a new experience and it was cool to be on the media side of things. I talked to the RCMP before the collision took place, took pictures during the collision, and interviewed the drama students who took part in the collision after it was over. The students were really enthusiastic about the event and excited to talk to me – excited to be featured in a newspaper. Oh! Driving on the highway turned out to be really easy!

I got back to the office, transcribed my recordings, and wrote my story (interview, transcribe, story writing appears to be the general routine here).

Before I go on with what is already a 1700+ blog entry (sorry, I really didn’t think this would be that big…) I will add that apparently on Wednesdays, everyone stays late to put the stories on the pages using InDesign.

So by 5:00PM, I knew I wasn’t going anywhere, but then something came through on the police scanner that my editor thought sounded big enough to get a picture out of, or maybe a story if there was something there, and I offered to go cover it.

It went amazing!! The driver of the single vehicle collision wasn’t hurt or anything, so that was good. But his van was pretty beat up, and then I discovered upon asking the residents who were watching the police and firecrew clean up the site, that the intersection has been a hotspot for collisions and speeding ever since the red lights were put up. The residents were so upset and so passionate when they told me how their neighbourhood has been ruined by this intersection. It was soo interesting, and what was originally just supposed to be me taking a picture of the scene, ended up being, what I think, was a great story. I had a lot of fun.

When I got back to the office I transcribed my notes and wrote the story.

As it turns out, the computer I use doesn’t have a compatible InDesign version like with all of the other computers in the building and their licenses ran out for any new InDesign version. Therefore, I didn’t have to stay as late as everyone else to work on page layout because, I couldn’t.

I decided that the next day I would start working on the story idea I had pitched, so even though I was slightly worried I would end up being bored with nothing to do the next day, I wasn’t as worried about boredom as I was, say, Monday night.

Thursday, May 8:
I googled businesses I would need to talk to for my story, and I wrote out questions I’d need to ask people. I took my time doing this, as with my previous work, because if I finished at the pace that I would at normal-Linda-speed, I’d be done very quickly and yes, that impending boredom was on the edge of my mind the entire time. Then I helped copyedit the stories that were going to press tomorrow.

After everyone helped copyedit, they kind of started reading newspapers. So I did that as well.

I wrote out what I was going to do for the rest of the day, and I found that having a schedule outline really really helped in the having-something-to-do-at-all-times thing. It really helped. I also found that reading the newspaper somewhat helped me come up with more story ideas (yay!)

And as it turns out, everyone leaves early on Thursday because the pages have been laid out, copyedited, changes made, and sent to press so I guess Thursday, as well as Friday, is the wrapping up of the news week. Oh, there’s also another story meeting on Thursdays but it’s mostly to discuss what sporting events would be going on over the weekend.

Thursday I think was a very important day for me because on Thursday I realized that if I set out hourly goals and things to do, time actually goes by considerably quicker and I am not in the state that I was on Monday.

Friday, May 9:
As I wrote, Thursdays and Fridays are the wrapping up of the news week I guess, since the next story meeting isn’t until Monday. I did one interview for the story idea I had pitched at the start of the week, and I was also sent to a little event at a local high school to take pictures for next week’s paper. The sports reporter didn’t even show up Friday, because he attends a lot of the sports games and does interviews over the weekend. The other news reporter left at about noon, and I wasn’t going to leave without being told to but about an hour later, the editor told me to feel free to go home for the weekend. I hung around for a little bit longer and then left for the day. I felt bad for leaving early, but then I saw my editor leave about a minute after I did so the bad feeling went away and I was absolutely stoked that my weekend would be starting early! 😀

To conclude…

What started off as a very depressing week, one where I thought I wouldn’t have enough to do to keep me busy, ended up really well.

I wrote 4 stories that were published in the May 9 edition of the Saint City News, in St. Albert and I am excited to write more.

I had a moment near the beginning of the week where the lack of things to do seriously caused me to question whether or not working at a newspaper is something I could do as a profession. By the end of the week, I wasn’t worried anymore. My journalism teachers have always told us that to be in this profession, you really need to have a passion for it. At the beginning of the week, I was questioning the level of passion I had. But by the end of the week, I felt a lot more confident at this job. I do have a passion for this industry and I really do think that, between my experiences with print journalism, and my future experiences in broadcast journalism, I can really excel in this field and get to where I want to go in the future.

I am also defintiely going to change the format of these recaps because not only did that take me FOREVER to write up, but I don’t think anyone (including me), will be able to read through this entire thing without resorting to extreme skimming.


May 11, 2008 at 1:10 am Leave a comment

INTRO: welcome to a look into a young reporter’s life.

This is my introduction entry.

Hi 🙂

My name is Linda Hoang and I am an 18 year old Journalism student from Edmonton, Alberta in Canada. I recently finished my first year of J-school with a (I’m very proud to say) 3.81 GPA. I wasn’t planning on working at any newspaper this summer because after an exhausting second semester, I, like many others in the journalism program, simply wanted to take a break and relax.

Before I go on any further, I’ll stop and say that, while I am in a print-based journalism program right now, once I finish this program,

I will be going into a television broadcasting journalism stream…

.. which is ultimately where I would like to end up. The reason I chose to go into the print-based journalism program first was because I felt having background on the writing aspect of journalism would work more to my advantage, then simply going straight into a 2-year broadcasting diploma.

Now, back to the whole relaxing this summer plan…

I am a huge fan of the reality show So You Think You Can Dance. The fourth season premieres May 22nd, and I had originally planned to make weekly SYTYCD recap videos and post them on Youtube this summer as a way to build up my own video editing skills, as well as my amatuer broadcasting/hosting skills.

Then I got word of a summer student internship position…

.. at a small weekly newspaper in a town that orders my city. I decided to apply, and I ended up getting the job!

Now am still going to attempt to do my weekly SYTYCD recap videos and post them on Youtube, but it may prove a lot more difficult and time consuming now that I have this newspaper job, helping out at my parent’s family restaurant on the weekends, keeping a fansite updated, as well as keeping this blog updated.

But basically, that is the current background, you would need (or want) to know about me… for now.

I decided to start writing a blog because, just like when you go on vacation and a few months later you think back and you don’t remember at all what you did on your vacation, I didn’t want to look back on this experience and not remember what had happened. So instead of a vacation journal, this blog will be a work journal of sorts. The blog is also to help hone my writing skills.

I do not know how many people will actually read this…

.. I will be passing on links to some friends and family, but I suppose in the end, by the end of the summer, I will use this blog to look back – read back – and remember the good times and the bad times of my experiences working at a small weekly newspaper in the summer of 2008.

My next post will be a recap of my first week at the newspaper.

Welcome to A look into a young reporter’s life.


May 10, 2008 at 4:14 am 4 comments

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