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Archive for December, 2008

I’ve been blogging two years… and counting

Monday, December 1st, 2008

On Nov. 22, 2006, I sat down and penned the first entry on MerandaWrites.com. It began with a single declarative sentence: “I hate blogs.”

Of course, I didn’t really hate blogs. And this wasn’t my first or only blog at the time. Nor was MerandaWrites.com the first domain I’d ever been keeper of. But I would lose interest. Or, as actually happened with my previous domain, I would reach the point I knew would be my highest, and I’d give up and want something new to play with.

I never expected to see a day this far off in the future that I’d still be composing entries under the same heading. But here I am, belatedly commemorating my second blog anniversary.

What I wrote back then, before I’d even graduated college or landed a job, still holds true:

At the end of a week, month, or even year … this blog and Web site will pretty well encompass who I am and where I’m headed. For now all you need to know is bookmark MerandaWrites.com. As much as I hate blogs, I’ll make this one worth your time.

At least, I hope I’ve made it worth your time. Even if recently, I’ve been slacking on regular updates. …

If you looked at a chart of my productivity at work this year, you’d see it has increased significantly the second half of the year. In fact, I had more than twice as many bylined stories in November as I did in January. (And I was off about an equal amount of time in each.) There’s definitely been an inverse correlation between quantity of writing for the J&C and writing here. Spending so much quality time with my computer at work makes spending more time with it at home less enticing.

Part of my “slacking” was computer trouble, and part of it was I don’t know what to say. So much of what the past two years of this blog has been about has been chronicling what it’s like to be a 20-something trying to figure out journalism as it is now and steer it toward where I’d like it to be someday.

Shortly after I launched this blog, I also began my first post-college job. That means, come January, I’ll also hit the two-year mark in the “real world.” It seems like no time at all has passed since I was sitting in the Stater office lamenting the lack of job prospects. But I’m almost two years out, still employed but with most of my job’s “firsts” out of the way. I’ve been trying to think of ways to go back to the excitement and newness of starting out on a new beat but also incorporating all the knowledge and skills I’ve gained since it was all so new. I still find interesting and cool stories, perhaps even more now that I know where to look and what to look for, but as I’m preparing to write about my third year of standardized test results and graduation rates, I’m also grasping for fresh angles and new ways to present the data. I’m working at it.

I guess that’s the great thing about journalism, there’s always room to grow or some way you can improve.

That’s also true of the blog. There are so many ideas and facets of this industry I’ve yet to explore. So many more new bloggers and journalists, including dozens more (at least) young’ns like me, to meet. I will say it’s been amazing how many windows this blog (and twitter, gmail chat, wired journalists, etc.) has opened my eyes to. I’ve gotten to know so many other working journalists and editors, as well as students and professors, working toward my same goals.

I started this blog in the hopes of chronicling my own experience, but it ended up being a big part of that experience. I’ve never for a second felt like I was alone in my trials or my triumphs. I knew if I wanted to learn something or swap story ideas, whom I could ask. Or if I wanted to compare how my newsroom worked to how others did it, who would be a good source. That’s priceless, especially for a girl who moved six hours away from anything she’d ever known to take a job she didn’t know if she’d like in a city she’d only ever visited for the job interview. So thanks to all my readers and my commenters, you all make it worth it both for me and for each other. I promise to make a better effort if not in December (busy month) then as a new years resolution to contribute more frequently. There is still plenty to be discussed.

I don’t hate blogs any more. I realize now how powerful they can be.