Those editors at orientation weren’t kidding when they said you’d “jump in.”
I had three hour-and-a-half classes yesterday, so I just stopped in the newsroom for budget and a short chat with my editor, meaning today was my first real day in the newsroom.
It was, in a word, chaotic. I forgot exactly how hectic reporting could be. I was asked to check up on a few higher education things and do some research for tomorrow’s Faculty Council meeting before I was assigned my task of the day: to collaborate with three of my fellow education beat members on a follow-up to a story published yesterday concerning possible sites of a new elementary school in southwest Columbia.
I spent the late morning and early afternoon looking at maps, looking up names (White Pages is my new best friend) and coming up with questions. It got a bit chaotic as people left for and returned from class and other obligations — I found myself spending a decent amount of time catching others up because I was in the newsroom from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. However, because we were all on different schedules, I think the collaboration was for the best — we all ended up getting small parts done that, together, helped the person who will end up writing the story. Though my byline won’t necessarily be on the story, I feel accomplished knowing I helped with the research. Plus, it was a way to get to know some of my fellow beat writers very quickly.
Now that I’ve given my responsibility for that story to someone else, I can focus on researching for tomorrow’s Faculty Council meeting. I might have dropped out of Brownies, but I still always like to be prepared.