Saint City News

RECAP: my third week at a small newspaper

Hello blog visitors.

My recap of this past week:

Monday, May 19:
No work! Long weekend holiday, it was great. :)

Tuesday, May 20:
Since we lay out our newspaper on Wednesday, and given that we lost Monday due to the long weekend, as soon as I came in on Tuesday, there was a lot to do. I had my own story idea that I wanted to work on, along with a story that was assigned to me on Friday. Then at the story meeting Tuesday morning there was a few stories up for grabs so I offered to do two of them. Totaling my story count for this week to 4, yay!

This day was very busy. I had to come up with questions for all the different people I wanted to talk to about the 4 different stories, and then I had to call everyone to conduct the interviews and get some quotes and it turns out …

Every single person I called I got sent to their voicemail or their secretary or someone said they weren’t in.

It was not a fun feeling. I literally called about 10 different people and all 10 of them were unavailable.

Thankfully after lunchtime I started getting phone calls back so I was busy interviewing for most of the afternoon.

Tuesday was a pretty busy day, I had something to do for the entire 8 hours I was there! Actually I was there for longer because I had to go to a rehearsal for one of the stories I’m doing and take pictures of the kids during rehearsal so I didn’t get home until around 7:00pm.

But overall I enjoyed Tuesday because I really wasn’t bored at all and I actually didn’t have the now-familiar fear of having nothing to do.

Shocking.

Wednesday, May 21:
I did a few more phone interviews in the morning today and then transcribed all of the interviews I had done since yesterday, which didn’t take as long as I thought it would.

I then pretty much worked through lunch (well I ate lunch while writing my stories), and was finished everything by 3:00pm.

Problem was we don’t get the pages to lay out until 5:00pm so I reverted back to my reading the newspaper and surfing the Internet looking at news related websites (Entertainment-based news however, I really wish I could just have a column writing about reality TV shows and stuff, sigh.)

By the time 5:00pm rolled around I couldn’t even start work on laying out pages because the other two reporters and the editor were all using their computers with InDesign (and remember my computer doesn’t have the working InDesign so I have to use one of their computers).

The other news reporter had to go cover a meeting but not until 6:30 so I basically wrote the first portion of this blog while I waited for her to leave so I could use her computer. Sadly I asked if there was anything I could do while I waited and the editor said, No, Sorry. :( I mean, I don’t blame him; there really wasn’t anything to do.

But sigh, I really hate having nothing to do.

Thursday, May 22:
And so goes the weekly routine of Thursday copyediting, reading newspapers, trying to think of story ideas for next week, and then going home.

Unfortunately this Thursday I couldn’t think of any story ideas.

The editor wanted us to think of senior citizen-related stories because Senior’s Week is coming up and the only thing I could think of is really more Edmonton-related than St. Albert related and other than that, the idea-well was dry and I was scared.

As previous weeks has proven, if I don’t have my own story ideas, then I’m basically screwed and I get nothing to do the next week which sucks because…

1. I have nothing to do and am forced to revert back to extreme boredom.
2. I have no stories to add to my portfolio and clippings for the week.
3. Not having story ideas makes me look bad to the editor and I don’t want to look bad to the editor or to anyone.

Needless to say, I was pretty bummed out at the thought of going to the story meeting on Monday and saying Yeah… I don’t have anything…

Friday, May 23:
Nothing to do on Fridays but this Friday we had to wait till about 1PM to go over to the Rainmaker Rodeo to pick up media passes for the weekend. It turns out they didn’t have the passes ready for us yet so they just told us when we come down to cover the event then we can pick up our passes then.

Also, the Internet was down yesterday and today so from 9AM till the time we went to get our media passes, none of us could go on the Internet so it was pretty excruciatingly boring and we all realized how dependant we are on the Internet in order to function.

Oh, so this week’s paper was all nice and published today and the picture I took for my Alice in Wonderland Jr. preview story was the cover photo! I also really liked the story I did about the musical; I’d put it as one of my favorite stories I’ve written at this paper so far. Maybe I’ll add a link and picture to the cover on here before I post this. (Note: I am writing this blog at work to kill time).

Today I also asked my editor if I could go on vacation (June 25-July 1 and August 1-10) and he was fine with it so I was pretty happy but I was also kind of worried because with the looming fear of not having a story idea I didn’t want to look like the girl who doesn’t have story ideas but also wants to go on vacation, you know?

I mean as far as having story ideas goes, I’ve had ideas for stories every week that I’ve been working at this paper so far and I think that’s pretty good, I mean back at J-school coming up with one story idea for my class assignment was probably the hardest thing I faced that semester so the fact that so far (up until this point) at this job, I’ve had story ideas, I think has been really impressive for me. Or at least, helped me look like a good intern..

I wonder if the last intern this paper had, had new story ideas every week?

Sunday, May 25:
I usually work at my parent’s restaurant on the weekends but I had to take Sunday off because it was my day to go down to the Rainmaker Rodeo (and Carnival/midway) and take pictures for the paper. I got there pretty early, about a half hour after the gates opened, so there wasn’t anyone there for at least an hour and I ended up just walking around, surveying the area. At first the batteries for the camera that I was taking were all still in their chargers at the office and they buttons were still red and not green, indicating they weren’t fully charged yet, so I was worried the batteries would crap out on me early and I’d have to come back to switch.

The first battery I used did crap out on me and I did have to go back to the office to grab some other ones but the office is only a 5 minute walk from the rodeo grounds so it wasn’t too awful or anything.

I ended up getting a bunch of cute pictures of kids on rides with the permission from their parents.

In my Photojournalism class at J-school everyone would always complain and be weirded out by the fact that our teacher was expecting us to snap pictures of complete strangers and then go up and ask for their permission/ the spelling of their names but it turns out when you do it for an actual newspaper publication as opposed to a photojournalism class, it’s not as weird and it’s a lot easier.

(I mean, what sounds better, ‘Hi I took a picture of your kid for my photography class, could you tell me your kid’s name please?’ or, ‘Hi, I’m with the Saint City News, I was wondering if I could get the spelling of your child’s name in case the picture is featured in the paper?’ – second one right!)

Anyway, so I ended up doing that for a few hours – just taking pictures, talking to parents, and I also bought myself a corndog, mini donuts, and a wallet from the marketplace. Yay.

At one point I accidentally called someone’s son a daughter, (he looked girly, I’m sorry!) and at another point I asked a parent for permission to take their kids’ picture and the parent was like ‘You already asked us an hour ago!’ to which I said ‘Oops, oh really, I’m sorry!’ Seriously, kids look alike.

Went back to the office, uploaded the pictures, labeled them with the kids’ names, and then I went home to rest for a few hours before I went to work the evening shift at my parent’s restaurant.

Thus ending my third week working as an intern at a small newspaper.

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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