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Apologies: back-to-school is draining for education reporters

I have successfully completed, err survived, another back-to-school reporting season. My second as the education reporter here in Lafayette.

Normally, I wouldn’t feel the need to share the details of my daily toils at work, except that today I realized I posted three (just three!) entries in all of August. I always feel as if I’m letting my readers down when I go so long. I didn’t even pass along any inspiring quotes last month. But I’m not abandoning you. I’ve just been busy.

To be sure, August was a big month. My corporate owner cut 1,000 jobs, 600 through layoffs. (Only two at my paper, and none in the newsroom.) I attended some great Excel/database training, which when I have some beefier stories to share I’ll talk about. (So far I’ve only really used the skills to analyze proposed budgets, tax rates and SAT scores.) I also attended the wedding of two of my favorite people from j-school, whose wedding is noteworthy aside from the fun because instead of wedding favors they created a scholarship for journalism students. All blog-worthy occurrences.

But they aren’t what kept me, well not entirely, from blogging. Mainly, I was just very busy at my day job. See my first paragraph above.

Back-to-school time is like election season for an education reporter. Every district has its nuances. They all have new policies, new buildings, new teachers/administrators/students, all of which need reported on. Not to mention the typical first day features and the stories on dress codes, school supplies, bus routes, etc. And that was all on top of a very breaking, developing news heavy month on the schools beat.

To be honest, I couldn’t even tell you every story I wrote last week, let alone last month. But trust me it was a lot. In fact, I counted to see if I was just imagining being overwhelmed or if I was truly as busy as I seemed. Turns out I’m not imagining things. By my count, from Aug. 1 through Aug. 31 I had: 40 bylines, 16 taglines and 10 staff reports (beyond briefs). All that in 21 days of work, which was really only 19 if you take out the two I was away at training. (And it doesn’t count the stories I wrote at the end of the week that ran Monday, Tuesday.) So yeah, I earned my paychecks.

Unfortunately, that all meant by the time I got home, I was exhausted. While I kept up on Twitter, somewhat, I didn’t post much here.

I’m hopeful with the school year now well underway in my local districts, things can get back to a more manageable level. At least until the real election season rolls around. Somehow, I doubt that will happen, but a girl can hope?

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