Re-finding the groove

In an ideal world, this post would have been written a few days ago, at the conclusion of my first week of reporting and before my second week. However, in an ideal world, my plane wouldn’t have been delayed to the point that it took me an extra day to get home, and my computer charger wouldn’t have broken right as my battery was running low.

So it goes.

However, I did have a relatively eventful first week of work. While I suppose things started a little slow as I settled into a new position, I wound up turning a couple of stories and a brief. My first story as some pretty straightforward event coverage — I visited a community beautification project/block party that culminated in residents and volunteers painting a street mural. My second story was an advance of a public meeting to discuss closure options for a repair of one of the major bridges in the city. I’ve also been assigned several stories to sink my teeth into that should be up by the end of the week (which will go in my next post, when I get a blogging schedule set).

One of the neat parts of my job is that the Telegraph Herald uses video really heavily. If there’s any opportunity to take video of an event or a person, the reporter whips out a digital camera and shoots A and B roll to run with the story. So basically, I do video now. Nothing fancy, but it’s definitely pushing me to hone my often-neglected skills with video (kudos to J2150) and to really think about multimedia components of a story, instead of my usual tendencies to just want to just produce text and be done with it.

I’m also easing into using Twitter as a reporter. During my first week of work, one of the editors gave me the information I need to tweet from the TH’s account, so I send out updates when I go to events. So far, I’ve tweeted a grand total of once, but that’s one more time than I tweeted for the Missourian, and I expect that number will go up by the end of the week.

So far, my time as a reporting intern has involved getting back into the groove of being a daily turn reporter. After four months of writing 50-inch features, a lot of what I’ll be doing is taking a couple of days, making a few calls and getting a story up on the site as quick as I can. Honestly, I’m pretty happy with what I’m doing — it forces me to work on my conciseness and pushes me back into the daily newspaper mindset I honed in J4450. The other cool thing about moving back to daily coverage is that I can see how much my reporting and writing has improved since my first semester at the Missourian — I weave in more scene and description, my verbs are more lively (Thanks, Jeanne!) and I feel more confident handling information. My hard news leads need some work because I’m a bit out of practice, but that’s something I’m looking to improve over the summer

With a move back to more quick-turn coverage, I’m discovering that my biggest challenge right now is dialing myself back up into a deadline reporter and maintaining a balanced sense of urgency  — working quickly and efficiently without stressing myself out beyond what’s healthy. I talked with my editor about quantity, and we’re thinking I want to shoot for an average of producing something each day (not always, but generally). It’s definitely a goal that’s going to stretch me, and I’ll admit I’m a bit nervous. But I’m also excited to push myself in that area, because truth be told, I really want to spend this summer exploring whether this kind of journalism — a daily paper in a medium sized community — is something I want to pursue.

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