Tuesday, August 21, 2007

The Reporting Life

I love my job. I hate my job. No… I love my job. I really do love my job. I love being a reporter. I like asking questions, I like being places I’m not really supposed to be. I like being your eyes and ears and sometimes your voice. I don’t always like what I write about and it seems that I’m always resistant to get down to the actual writing, but once I get it out and filed, I am so very satisfied.

Yesterday I researched two stories that are not of the “breaking news” variety. Indeed, most news stories are not. I put off writing them until today - I had a noon deadline. I always have trouble getting started; coming up with a compelling lead is no easy trick. Once I get rolling though, they seem to write themselves. Such was the case today. It took just a little more than two hours to compose two stories - one about 500 words and the other about 650. Now I can breathe for the real excitement begins tonight.

The Lincoln News Messenger is the weekly paper of one of the fastest growing communities in the United States - Lincoln, California. The paper is one of the fattest of the Gold Country Media weeklies and will probably become a daily in the coming years. There is a brand new city hall under construction, a new elementary school opens for its very first day on Thursday and houses are springing up like weeds. The paper has been looking for a full-time reporter and so far is operating without one. My name was dropped to the editor as a stringer who could handle the quick turnaround stories like city council meetings or, as is the case tonight, the school board meeting.

It didn’t look like anything too contentious would be on the agenda tonight, but if I’ve learned anything during this past year, the agenda does not tell all. I received a tip through the editor that some families are none too happy about some of the goings on at the administrative level and plan to attend and let the board know what they think. Yes, this is when it gets good. All bets are off and anything could, and often does, happen. Since this paper goes to press tomorrow, this is a story that won’t wait. It will be written tonight or perhaps very early tomorrow morning.

I can’t wait.


kenju said...

Mike, I'd love to read it. Can you post it here - or a link to it?

Mark said...

Congrats on the stringer assignment. I hope it leads to something bigger for you.

I recently spent a week in California on a business trip, and I can understand why people want to live there. It's just a beautiful state (in the part I saw, anyway), and many amazing things are nearby.

When I was a reporter, it was the writing I loved, not the actual reporting part (asking tough questions, being the a**hole in somebody's face). I guess that's why I got out of it, and now I just write for fun on the Internet.

MaR said...

I enjoy reading your blog with my morning coffee. That's why Michele keeps sending me! and I would love to read your work as a reporter...

flleenie said...

I honestly think the 'Lincoln News Messenger' was meant for you, & that you were meant for the 'Lincoln News Messenger'

I love reading your posts. You are very articulate.

carmilevy said...

You've reminded me of my days as a beat reporter for a weekly paper in my old hometown of Montreal. I drew the lion's share of the town hall/council meetngs, and they never ceased to be fantastically entertaining.

I worked my way through j-school with that job in addition to one in a radio newsroom. I think I learned more from the real-world, real-people experience than I did from my classes!

BreadBox said...

That sounds tremendously exciting: great opportunity, and how nice that it looks like there was a good story potential on your first day!

Michele sent me to tell you this,