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Archive for April 16th, 2007

Profs play ’20 questions about your new job’ game

Monday, April 16th, 2007

Sorry for the lack of updates. The last few weeks, especially last week for some reason, have been pretty hectic and draining on me. I think it might be my attempts to squeeze way too much into too little time. Perhaps that is why it seems time has sped up rather than slowed down as I get more into my job. On the bright side, I had my 90-day review and it went well. Looks like I don’t suck too bad; they’re keeping me around. ;)

A few quick updates, just to catch everyone, including myself, up to speed.

I went home this weekend. Home, home, to Akron, Ohio. It was my mother’s birthday, and I surprised her with an unannounced visit (that took a lot of maneuverability on my part and included working Easter).

The highlights of the weekend included surprising my mom at dinner with flowers (that should have been delivered to her office but the company lost my order!); catching up with my sisters, mom and dad; seeing the Monet in Normandy exhibit at the Cleveland Museum of Art; hearing a ridiculously funny comic at a comedy club; not dying in perhaps the most narrowly avoided high-speed, late-night highway covered in snow accident of all time; spending time with my dog; hanging out with all my Stater friends; finding out the Stater/KSU student media did awesome in the SPJ regional competition; catching up with all the JMC professors; finally seeing my diploma — four months after graduation.

This morning/afternoon I made the rounds in Taylor Hall talking to all the professors. I swear I was asked at least half a dozen of the same questions related to the Gannett “information center” and how it applies at my paper. Who posts to the Web? Does it go through an editor? What do you post? When? Do you write the same or different for online/print? Who writes the headlines? Are you doing video/shooting stills/doing Podcasts/blogs/etc.? Why/why not? Are other people/citizens doing those things? Who edits them? Do you have all those different “desks”? How does that work? Is it really 24 hours? and so forth.

Then there were the questions more pertinent to me/my daily job: Do you like it? The city? The paper? Your roommates? How about your co-workers — mostly older or younger? how many reporters? who’s your editor? do you like them? What all are you responsible for covering? Is it mostly assigned or school board meetings or do you do more enterprise and issues? What’s a typical day for you? How many hours do you work each week? How many stories do you write? What’s your favorite that you’ve done so far? How long do you think you’ll stay? Where do you think you’ll look next? (The last two questions, just in case my editors happen to read this, which I don’t think they do but you never know, are very premature. I’m about to sign a 12-month lease. This means I intend to stay for at least another year. So relax. I’m not jumping ship.)

I felt like I should have prepared a handout with frequently asked questions. (The last time I felt like that, incidentally, was when I was going through my round of job interviews and I felt as if I was being asked the same half dozen questions or variations on them from every single person.) It was funny because they all asked almost identical questions at first. They all seemed really eager to see how I was faring in the real world. I’ve said before that I think I’m their guinea pig in terms of “how does a KSU graduate with the talents and skills employers say they’re looking for fare when she leaves the confines of college and starts working for a newspaper company?” Sometimes it makes me afraid to answer because I think they might take it at face value and alter their curriculum or something crazy based on my personal experience. At the least, I know from my own classes and hearing about other grads, my job will become an anecdote for their future students.

But I guess, as Jan put it when we met for coffee, they are all journalists — former reporters and editors. Asking questions is what they do best. But seriously, I felt like we were playing 20 Questions about your new job. Still, it was nice to catch up with everyone and hear about the Franklin Hall excitement/confusion/concerns.

It’s also very surreal to be back in the Stater newsroom, a place where I spent the majority of my collegiate career, and not be a part of the paper. When they were all upset about some headline on the Forum page, it was nice to be able to sit there and say, “Ha. Not my problem.” Probably not nice to them. But it was a nice feeling for me not to be responsible for everyone else’s mistakes. I will say having been editor, managing editor and campus editor in college makes me much more appreciative of the work my editors do every day. And I’ve told my editor on a few occasions that I don’t think I’d ever want his job. His response was, “Get one crappy assignment too many, and you’ll change your mind.” We’ll see about that. In the meantime, as much as I loved being editor and being able to execute my vision for the paper/Web site, I really appreciate that my job now has me answering for me not 100+ other kids who may or may not care as much as I do.

OK. Bed time. I’m heading in early Tuesday to catch up on e-mail and messages from Friday through today before my day really picks up. I promise to try and do a better job updating this week.

QOTD: … teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea

Monday, April 16th, 2007

“If you want to build a ship, don’t herd people together to collect wood and don’t assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea.”
— Antoine de Saint-Exupery