Endings and beginnings

On the day my last story for the Missourian published, I started my summer reporting internship at the Telegraph Herald in Dubuque, Iowa.

To borrow some lyrics from Semisonic, which I may or may not have listened to on the six-hour drive from central Missouri to eastern Iowa, “Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.”

My last two stories as an advanced reporter went up over the weekend, a piece featuring multimedia work and a story about a longtime entrepreneur that I spent forever working on before I finally hit the right angle. I spent my last day in Columbia giving both stories one last read-through before they ran, then I was off to Dubuque, my white Camry loaded up with three suitcases, a guitar, and my brand-new bike on its brand-new bike rack.

I spent a day and a half in my new city, driving around to get a feel for the place I’m adopting as my community for the next 10 weeks (or perhaps its more apt to say that it’s adopting me?). I succeeded in navigating to and from the Walmart without getting lost, I spent some time exploring downtown, I moved into the room I’m renting for the summer and I bought the massive Sunday paper to spend an afternoon sifting through the pages of the paper where I’d start work the next morning.

And today, at 9 a.m. sharp, after a morning of nervously sifting through my sparse wardrobe of business casual outfits, I walked through the revolving doors of the TH, as it’s apparently called, took the elevator to the third floor, and began several hours of orientation — learning the new content management system, filling out paperwork with HR, asking the news staff countless questions, going out to “interns’ first day” lunch, trying not to apologize too much, and using a PC for the first time in … well, I can’t remember the last time I used a PC.

(Also, I would just like to say that I now have my own desk. It comes with its own computer. And its own phone. I have a brand-new professional email address. The newsroom has its own supply of pens and notebooks and legal pads.)

Once the dust settled, I found myself sitting at my desk without much to do other than read up on some old clips and set up my voicemail account (did I mention I have my own office phone?) — so after fiddling around in the archives for a bit, I decided I’d make myself useful and ask how I could help out. I wound up writing a brief that turned out to be a bigger story than we thought, so we’re holding onto it so I can write it up as a bigger piece tomorrow.

I’ve also been assigned an event story, which comes with a short advance as well, plus another short piece I’ll start working on later in the week. So I’m staying busy.

Other than my general “here’s what I did on my first day” spiel, I’ve actually got a lot to think about after an 8-hour shift in the newsroom. I can already tell that this will certainly be a new experience, and that I’ll have to brush off a few of my old 4450 quick-turn skills that have been somewhat neglected in the midst of a semester of feature writing. That, and after two semesters of living at the Missourian, I’m learning to navigate a new newsroom culture, which, let’s face it, the j-school can’t offer you if you don’t get outside its walls. Honestly, this part is all a lot to process, and I’ll probably write more about it later, once my head stops spinning and I have a little time to think.

New stories: Ashland students learn to work soil at Southern Boone Learning Garden (text)Ashland students learn to work soil at Southern Boone Learning Garden (multimedia)Randy Minchew uses connection, entrepreneurial expertise to help start businesses

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