Feb. 21st, 2005

goodgothgirl: (Default)
Friday and Saturday reminded me of why I took the obits job in the first place: I hate working back-to-back 12-hour days. I'm really just no good for the second one, and it takes a couple of days to recouperate afterward.

The worst part was that Saturday's editors had their heads so far up their asses that the "planned" work we did for Sunday's paper was MUCH less coordinated than the work we did in just three hours on Friday night. I'm not going to get into it, because continuing to complain about it is pointless, but I've learned some things about me and journalism because of this weekend.

In talking with the night editor who I usually work with, I realized that the reason Friday felt so great was because we all worked as a team -- from the copy desk writing the headlines, to editors calling other reporters at home to get ideas for sources for me to contact, to a reporter coming in at 10:30 p.m. to call people I didn't have time to call and write a sidebar of rememberances to go with my story, to the design folks who chose the photos that tied it all together. We ROCKED. I can't remember the last time I've been part of a well-oiled machine on deadline like that. In fact, the judge's son told me on Saturday that he was very surprised by the quality of the work we did, given how little time we had. "You are a professional," he told me.

Then came Saturday, and the T-D reared its ugliest head. The editors on dayside duty -- several of them -- were the ones who don't handle deadline well, and can't move quickly even though their jobs depend on it. There was the usual miscommunication, I was dumped with too much work, and I wrote another kick-ass story DESPITE the editors this time -- not BECAUSE of them helping me, the way Friday was.

So what I've learned is this: I love working for newspapers when I'm working with competent people who understand the concepts of deadline and immediacy. The problems I've been having with journalism for the last 18 months probably have more to do with the T-D and how the institution (doesn't) function, rather than it being a problem with me or newspapers in general.

The solution to this is to start looking for a job at another newspaper. But I'll only do that if I decide to stay with newspapers for longer than another 12 to 24 months. And it's possible that the T-D might change over the next few years, as more of the (slow) upper management people retire and the new publisher (a former reporter and editor himself, who is VERY into deadline and immediacy) starts shaking things up. In fact, big changes are on the way for the obits job, which has brought me a rough time over the last couple of weeks (long story, don't want to discuss it) but might play out with me being able to work on obits the way New York Times writers do -- well in advance, interviewing people the subjects myself before they die, and being able to write better obits because of it. I'm not sure if I feel up for this -- I'm very worried that the obits job will turn into the same hellish nightmare as the other beats I've covered have -- but it's intriguing. Anyway, Friday night showed me that we have many people on staff who are excellent journalists, so the question is, can I wait it out long enough for the retirement turnover to finally promote immediacy-conscious journalists to upper management?

Overall, though, I'm relieved to know that it's not me hating journalism that's causing my frustration -- I just am really unhappy with the way the T-D's newsroom works. And Friday night showed me that perhaps the biggest part of it is that I've been BORED, BORED, BORED for YEARS at this place. I might have worked 60-hour weeks on a regular basis while dealing with Evil Bob, but having too much work to do does not mean that any of it is relevant, interesting or even important. I've been bored beyond tears for a really, really long time, and I don't think I can fix that while working in this newsroom.

I've always said that there is no utopian newsroom -- that you have to choose a place to work where the problems are ones that you can live with. I left Rochester because that newsroom almost killed me, because there was no living with the problems there. And it may be that I've fooled myself into believing that I'm the problem instead of the T-D because everything there is so lackadaisical that I figured that I'm the one that doesn't fit in instead of thinking that the place had problems. Now that my eyes have been opened, only time will tell me if I can continue living with the problems in the T-D newsroom.
goodgothgirl: (Default)
You scored as Buffy Summers. You are a very strong individual. You do, however, have some trouble admitting how you truely feel. You've experienced a lot during your life, but you more than manage. Always willing to help, you're a great friend.


Buffy Summers


Dawn Summers




Willow Rosenberg


Rupert Giles




Tara Maclay


Xander Harris


Which Buffy The Vampire Slayer Character Are You Most Like!?
created with QuizFarm.com
goodgothgirl: (Default)
Perhaps I should take this opportunity to move to your part of the world?

From www.journalismjobs.com: The Wenatchee World, a 25,000-circulation, family-owned daily in the heart of Washington state, is looking for a talented writer to join its local news staff.

Just an idea. :)


goodgothgirl: (Default)

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