Saint City News

RECAP: my fifth week at a small newspaper

Monday, June 2:
Monday was a very good idea because not only did I have a story idea, I was also assigned 3 other stories to do! Having my own story idea meant I was stress-free when the story meeting came around and the additional stories that were assigned to me meant I wouldn’t be bored this week and so it was!

I came up with questions and made phone calls for my story idea all of Monday. Once again people were not in their offices and I was sent to several voicemails but luckily most called me back before the day ended.

Overall it was a very productive day.

Tuesday, June 3:
I started coming up with questions and making calls to two of the stories I was assigned as well as called back some people who didn’t return my calls from Monday.

I was worrying however because, of course, the person that I needed a quote and statement from the most for my story idea was the hardest one to get a hold of and by the end of the day I still hadn’t talked to her so I frantically sent some emails pretty much begging (but in a professional way of course) her to call me back before 11:00AM tomorrow because after that time I’d be out taking photos of events and covering the event that was to be my 4th story for the week.

Other than the fear that the-most-important-aspect-of-my-story-might-not-call-me-back, Tuesday was also a very productive day.

Let’s stop now, Monday AND Tuesday? Both productive days? I was busy for both 8-hour days? I wasn’t bored? Say what? By Tuesday I was thinking this week is easily turning into one of my most favourite weeks working here thus far.

Wednesday, June 4:
Thank goodness for voicemail.

Actually, I have a side story about my voicemail but I’ll get to that later.

When I got into the office Wednesday morning I had a message from the-most-important-person-of-my-story! Thank god. Literally a wave of relief flushed through me. I called her back and after the 4th ring my face was pretty much scrunched up in a Oh-my-gosh-please-pick-up-please-pick-up-please-pick-up kind of way.

She picked up.

She was actually out of breath she said she had to run for the phone, haha.

Anyway I interviewed her and got the most important part of my story down and was super stoked that that was all finished by 9:30AM. Whereas normally if I was finished something before 9:30AM I would be dismayed because that meant I’d have less to do for the rest of the day, Wednesday was a busy day so I was pleased I got that out of the way fast.

Tuesday I wrote one story that was assigned to me, Wednesday after I finished the interview before 9:30AM I wrote the story for the other story that was assigned to me.

Actually I really liked that particular story I wrote because I felt my descriptive words made the story seem dramatic but in a light-hearted way, which is always fun to read. So I was happy with that story quite a bit.

Anyways, after I wrote that I had to go to an event which was the fourth story that I was assigned I went there, listened to the people talk, took a picture or two, hung around while the Global TV guy interviewed one of the speakers afterwards, and then went to a different site to take a picture of another event (it was just a picture opportunity not a story opportunity.)

Turns out the office camera I was using reached its space limit shortly after I got to the picture opportunity event and I wasn’t sure if the pictures had been uploaded to the other reporter’s computer yet so I had to find some blurry pictures and delete them to make room and then I took pictures very sparingly at the event but I got some okay shots. Senior citizens are adorable.

After that picture opportunity there was another one I had to go to and the office was on the way so I decided to stop by and either upload all the pictures onto the other reporter’s computer or ask if she had already done so. Turns out she had them already she just forgot to delete them before I took the camera so after I deleted the pictures and took a new battery, I left the office again to go to the other picture opportunity.

That one was located at a place that was pretty difficult to get to. I had Google mapped it and got directions but I really wasn’t sure if I was going the right way after some turns in the road. When I was just about to turn back and backtrack I saw a bunch of cars parked together in the distance and I thought well maybe they’re parked there for the event I’m supposed to take pictures for, and it turns out that’s exactly why all of those cars were there. Yay for not turning back too early and for using deductive skills in order to determine why a big group of cars in the middle of nowhere would be parked together. (P.S. the place I went to was a golf and country club so it was pretty much out in the clear fields and no population type of area where girls like me who run into car trouble would likely be kidnapped or sexually assaulted on the side of the dirt road, statistically speaking, lol.)

Anyway, took some pictures there, went back to the office, uploaded pictures, labeled pictures, finished all of my stories AND there was a computer with working InDesign available for me to use right at 5PM!

So I was stoked.

I ended up staying until about 8PM anyway though.

But it’s okay because I laid out a lot of pages and I think my headlines and decks didn’t suck all that much! (Really though, being clever with heads and decks is so difficult.)

I also am starting to learn a few extra tricks that I can do while laying out the stories in order to make stories fit and things like that, so that’s great.

Before I go onto Thursday I’ll talk about my voicemail story briefly:

I keep trying to change the voicemail message on my phone and it keeps rejecting it! I mean it’s not like flat-out rejecting it, it says ‘Message saved’ or whatever, then I call back to test it out and the previous person who used this phone’s voicemail is still there! It’s very annoying. Even the editor & the other reporters don’t know how to help me. Thankfully the previous person’s message isn’t long or it doesn’t even say her name it says something that is inaudible and lasts for about one second, then the beep comes on. So oh well. The other news reporter’s phone used to belong to the former editor here and his voicemail is still on it and she hasn’t changed it yet either (or perhaps she is running into the same problems I am!!) and so It’s a little worse for her since her voicemail is a guy’s voice talking and saying he’s unavailable.

Thursday, June 5:
Copyedit, same as every Thursday.

The newspapers I usually read for story ideas weren’t in the office today so I read the news online trying to muster up some ideas, I perhaps came up with one but I’m not that thrilled about it. I am hoping that stuff comes up that I can be assigned to go cover for next week. Banking on it, really.

I interviewed two people from a organization for a story that was assigned to me for next week already. They were really nice and afterwards one lady, who used to be a secretary at this newspaper coincidentally enough, told my editor that I was a great interviewer with a great personality. I was pretty stoked about that.

The biggest thing that happened today which I am extremely excited about, I’ll run through how the conversation went about.

Editor: Linda does Canadian Idol start tonight?
Me: No it started on Monday.
Editor: Damnit!
Me: What why?
Editor: There’s supposed to be a Paul Kane student here in St. Albert that auditioned and made it far I guess because there were camera people here a while back filming his ‘back story’.
Me: Ohh really! That’s so cool, but yeah Monday’s episode was the Edmonton, Calgary auditions too so he would have been in that.
Editor: Oh well, listen I’m going to make you our Canadian Idol Bureau Chief, are you okay with that?
ME: ARE YOU SERIOUS OH MY GOD YES!
* Me being excited for the rest of the day *

I mean, to be fair, I don’t like Canadian Idol. I like a lot of reality shows, but let’s keep in mind most reality shows are American. The Canadian spin-offs I don’t find are as interesting. EITHER WAY, to be able to write my opinion and recaps about an entertainment reality show, it’s like one step closer to helping me put my foot into the entertainment journalism door. And I could not be more excited.

When I went home I found the episode online and watched it to see if I could catch the St. Albert kid but they didn’t show him! Which leads me to conclude that if they did film his back-story, they’re going to be showing him during the Toronto week…

If he makes it past Toronto week, GREAT, I’ll be able to write more about the show and about him, but even if he doesn’t, at least I’ll have the one story during Toronto week where I can write about him.

Either way I was pretty excited and so happy that I had gotten the message through to my co-workers that I love entertainment and reality shows.

Friday, June 6:
I find that there really isn’t much point in coming in on Fridays.

Right now as I write this it is 10:27AM on Friday, the editor is in, the sports reporter doesn’t come in on Fridays all, and the other news reporter who is usually here Friday mornings, is absent.

I am wondering when I can leave too because this is highly unproductive.

But I won’t ask to leave because I don’t want to make a bad impression of course.

Biggest thing that happened today so far:

MY EDITOR SAID IF THERE ARE ST. ALBERT PEOPLE THAT MAKE IT ON SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE CANADA, I CAN BE THE PAPER’S SYTYCD BUREAU CHIEF TOO!!!!!!!!

You can pretty much imagine how excited and happy I got.

I joked around saying, ARE YOU SERIOUS? Don’t dangle this and then take it away from me! And things like that, which the editor & I got a laugh out of. Haha, he said he’s pretty sure no one else here would want to cover it anyway so the job is all mine.

The thing is I think SYTYCD Canada starts in the Fall when I’m done working here and back in school… but you know what that is in no way going to stop me. If there are St. Albert people in the show I will freelance write with the paper during school or something I don’t care there is NO way I am passing up a chance to write my opinion recaps and reviews about SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE. COME ON. :D

So happy.

Linda.

Linda Hoang is an Edmonton blogger who writes about food, travel, lifestyle/events and pets. She's also a social media/digital specialist with a journalism background. Linda is in love with her city and loves exploring and promoting Edmonton and other places she visits with her husband Mike. Linda is also the founder of the Edmonton International Cat Festival (and has 2 cats herself, along with 2 dogs).

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LINDORK