[June 1st – 5th 2009] First week of internship at the Edmonton Journal

June 7 2009.

… well technically the fourth week if you consider this to be an add-on to the first three weeks that I interned there during the winter break.

Here are the articles I wrote that were published last week:

The stories got pretty good play in the paper, front page of the City section for two days, second page for the other day. Happiness!

I also worked on/interviewed a nine-year-old boy with diabetes who is in the running for a national contest. That story was supposed to run this past Saturday but there were layout/internal issues that went on that pushed back the story until this coming Saturday. I’m re-interviewing the boy and his mother later this week so I can tweak the story so it’s a bit more timely. :-)

Overall the week went by very quickly. It was interesting to note the differences and similairities between last time I was here during the winter break and now. For instance, when I get out at 5 p.m. now, the sun is still shining and there feels like there’s still lots of time left in the day. This compared to the winter time’s dark skies, frigid air and snow I experienced at 5 p.m. each day last time. Also new this time, I’ve barely used my recorder at all! Most of the telephone interviews I do now, I just rest the phone on my left shoulder and type up what the person is saying. This saves a lot of time, and actually feels a lot more free-ing than when I depended on the recorder use. I think I’ve gotten a lot more comfortable just picking up the phone and calling out to sources as well. Another new thing this time ’round, the use of Twitter! I had had a Twitter account during the winter but I didn’t use it at all and neither did the majority of #yeg — Edmonton. Now, Edmonton is on Twitter like crazy and surprisingly the old computers here can actually access Twitter and allow me to tweet. This leading into something that hasn’t changed since last time… the old computers. They are still here and if possible I got an even worse one than before. Aside from the fact that Gmail, Facebook, and most websites on the interweb are inaccessible with Internet Explorer 5.1 for Mac (these Macs are Mac OS 9.2 btw. OLD!), this computer’s screen starts off normally coloured on the left hand side but as your eyes move from the left to the right of the screen, the color turns from white to yellow. It’s quite awful and hard on the eyes and I find myself blinking multiple times throughout the day in an attempt to avoid serious eye damage. Most of the people who share cubicle space with me are in the process of getting new computers but I won’t be getting one as I’ve only got one week left here.

That segways nicely into the fact that I’m only here for two short weeks. What does that mean? Well, the four full-time summer interns who are going to be working here for four months, all get to do some pretty cool stuff. For instance, they all have rotations for training in the cop room, something I don’t get a chance to do because, again, I’m only here for another week. They also get tours to city hall, the court house, and the Legislature. They also get assigned “mentors,” senior reporters who will go over some of their stories with them and advise them on what they could do better and you know, help mold them into becoming better journalists. And of course, they all get to switch to nice computers. Though to be fair, I have already taken tours to city hall, the courthouse, and the Legislature. One of the upsides of doing my journalism education at MacEwan. Speaking of interns, I’ve made friends with one from Ontario – Sneh Duggal. We share a wall and we also started sharing food! Sunchips, grapes, strawberries and chips, that kind of thing. She’s never been to Edmonton before getting the internship at the Journal so I offered to show her the sights or hang out if she ever wanted to. :-)

Other things to note… I’m real good at managing my time this time around. Where I found last time I would finish things way too quickly and find myself bored with nothing to do, now I make sure I specify what time I’m going to do something, how long that should take me, what time that should take me to, etc, etc. That kind of thing, which ends up keeping me (fairly) busy until the end of the day. Again, I personally need to state that it doesn’t take me an entire day to finish a story. At all. I can do interviews and pump out articles very quickly if need be… I just choose to stretch it out over a longer period of time because if I didn’t, I’d end up sitting with nothing to work on. And I know, if an editor or someone was reading this, they’d be like ‘well in that case, you should be coming up with your own story ideas and working on that!’, and the fact of the matter is I still suck at story ideas and it’s kind of defeating when everything you would pitch, is already well-known to the rest of the newsroom and someone is already likely covering it. Lol. I like walking into the newsroom in the morning and getting a brand new assignment/new topic of the day to research and write about and will for sure end up in the next day’s paper. I don’t enjoy pitching an idea that may or may not work, and waste time trying to see if it will work, only to have it not, and thus nothing will end up in the next day’s paper. Does that make me a bad journalist? I don’t know. Have I mentioned I want to be covering entertainment in Toronto or Los Angeles yet? … lol. One day. One day I shall write about celebrities, musicians, movies, So You Think You Can Dance and other television shows! One day! Nothing wrong with getting my foot well-established in the City/news-writing sector first! ;)

Oh, and another thing to note is I really love the Journal’s newspaper layout. Their fonts, their pictures, their look and feel, I love it. I think it makes my stories look really good. Ha ha!

Also, did I mention why I’m only here for two short weeks yet? It’s because in order to graduate from my journalism program, I need a minimum of five-weeks experience in an industry newsroom. I had gotten the coveted three-week winter break internship spot with the Journal during the winter, and now the extra two weeks is really to just fill my requirements. I would have liked to have gotten the full four-month internship for sure, but alas I think it worked out for the better given my summer travel plans and what not.

Anyway, to conclude… the week of June 1st – 5th at the Journal went really well. I’m super comfortable with the other reporters too, given that I met most of them during the winter and I fostered better relations with them via Twitter over the past few months so it’s all pretty comfortable. (I actually also met up with two of them outside of work to advise them on how to go about making their own websites. Hehe) I think I’m definitely capable of reporting for the City section (and I think I’m doing a pretty good job thus far), and also I found a sushi place in walking distance to the Journal building today that has the cheapest bento box ever! Yum, sashimi.

Next week I’ll put up a summary blog post of my last week of Journal activities / articles, and then embark on the next chapter of my summer/life. Exciting. :-)

(Before then there should be So You Think You Can Dance blog posts as well, lol)


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