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Archive for October 15th, 2007

A few entirely random thoughts that sum up today

Monday, October 15th, 2007

I don’t have anything profound to say today, but there are several random things floating around my head that I figured I may as well share. Feel free to add your own. This could be a fun game.

  • UPDATE, I forgot the most important lesson of today. What happens when you go to make cop calls and get a busy signal. You hang up and finish calling the rest and then head back to the busy number? What happens when that number still rings busy. And half an hour later? Still busy. So, then you call the city (housed in the same building), and guess what, it’s busy? Well, I decided something was up. But since I couldn’t just call down there to find out, I did what any enterprising, curious reporter would do. I walked there and found the IT director. Something was majorly up, apparently there was a huge statewide phone outage. Our police, city and the two city school districts both went without phone service until about 3 p.m. as did several other businesses in our community. Just goes to show, there really will never be a true replacement for face-to-face, shoe-leather reporting. There’s no way I could have worked that story through the phones.
  • Over the past few weeks I’ve done two different stories involving outages with two different phone companies. In light of this, I really think phone companies need to evaluate their media relations. Neither of the phone companies made it easy to a) locate a media representative, b) locate any live person, c) get a phone number that didn’t start with 1-800 and end with my hanging up after getting stuck in a loop of computer mis-guided menus. To sum up my editor’s response to the first of these stories, “The phone company doesn’t have a phone number on its site?!” And then a laugh and attempt to prove me wrong, as if I would seriously admit both my computer savvy and Google prowess had let me down without first ensuring it was worth throwing in the towel. I’m just saying. In both cases, I now have the phone number, name and e-mail of the person I need to talk to should anything else arise. But why make it so difficult?
  • I learned a new word today: akimbo. Apparently it means to put your hands on your hips and bend your elbows. (Think annoyed teenage girl yelling, “But mooooommmm!”) I’m only including this here because I told my editor I would blog about the new word I learned. lol. He used it to describe the “sassy” pose one of the girl’s auditioning for the Purdue Play Boy edition had in her photo.
  • This story, which I first saw on Romensko (and first commented on in my education tumblelog — which is off to a good start, thanks for asking) makes me nervous about ever writing about the ISTEP or other major tests. The reporter wrote a light feature about the testing and inadvertently included the essay topics that many students hadn’t yet written about! Now all the kids have to retake the test. Although, reading his explanation, I’d have to say I do understand he didn’t know he couldn’t include the topics — and really he shouldn’t have been let in the classroom and the teachers and administrators should have flagged it for him not to repeat test questions. Still, I’m not sure I like his defense. I think he’s trying to point fingers by his blog post, and really what it boils down to is, yeah, that’s hella embarrassing and really messes with a lot of kids, but take responsibility and go ahead and say, “I screwed up.” Not doing so is just as embarrassing.
  • I have decided that while I could work the 6 a.m. shift, as in I am capable of waking up, getting dressed and being at work to start posting and picking up cops stuff from overnight, I reaaallly don’t envy the guys who have that regular shift. Yes, it would be nice to have a set shift that didn’t fluctuate from 8 to 4 through 3 to 11 virtually every day depending on meetings and assignments, and getting off (theoretically) at 2 p.m. is so appealing. But if a wonky schedule and a few late nights a week is the price to pay for getting to work during daylight hours, it’s worth it for now. I am way too tired to actually do anything with the rest of today. And as I told the business reporter when he came in at 7:30 a.m., I’m too young to be up at 6 a.m.
  • That’s all I can think of for now.