RECAP: my fourth week at a small newspaper

Monday, May 26:
So today was pretty much a suckfest.

I couldn’t come up with any other story ideas over the weekend so I came into the story meeting with just my one more-Edmonton-than-St.Albert-related-senior-citizens-story. My editor said if I can find a St. Albert connection to the story then it would be good but if I can’t then, well, it’s not much of a story..

I made a phone call and there is a SLIGHT chance there could be a St. Albert connection to the story but the lady is supposed to email me when/if she figures that out or not and as of 4:32PM Monday, I haven’t received an email back.

I made another phone call related to the story but the lady I wanted to speak to wasn’t in, so I’ll be waiting for her to call me tomorrow.

If I don’t get an email or phone call from either people by let’s say after lunchtime tomorrow then I’ll call them both back but if I don’t get a St. Albert connection to this story then basically I don’t get any clippings in the paper this week.

There isn’t even any event to really cover. The editor himself mused that it seems like there won’t be enough news for the paper this week.

I am extremely bummed out.

I spent the majority of today thinking of possible story ideas.

I may have an idea that I’ll look into further tomorrow (it’s Monday as I right this), so if I’m lucky I’ll have minimum one story in the paper this week, maximum two. Either way, it’s not impressive at all and it’s definitely going in the wrong direction, from 4 stories last week to 2 stories this week (or even 1 story, or no story at all), I’m pretty sad about that.

Hopefully something will come up that I can maybe be sent to go cover or something… here’s hoping.


Tuesday, May 27:

I was pretty desperate for story ideas yesterday, and was trying to think of Edmonton issues that I could slap a ‘How would this affect St. Albert’ approach to. While I was driving home Monday after work, I saw a St. Albert Taxi cab and I remembered the issue of how Edmonton might impose safety shields in all cabs in the city.

Could this turn into a provincial law?

Would St. Albert area taxi companies support this proposal?

Could this be a story?

Were all questions that ran through my head after I saw the cab. And so it was, I spent Tuesday morning coming up with questions for St. Albert taxi company owners, finding their contact numbers, finding a contact number and coming up with questions for an Alberta transportation spokesman. I also came up with questions to ask an Edmonton city councillor who is advocating the proposal.

I also was waiting for the lady I contacted Monday about whether or not my seniors Edmonton-related story had any St. Albert connections, but unfortunately she didn’t email me back all day, which definitely left me feeling more than bummed out.

At around 2PM that day, I was sent to take pictures at the first day of the International Children’s Festival. I spent about 2 hours at the festival and took some pictures of kids eating ice cream, getting their faces painted, interacting with some street performers, and some shots of the Alice in Wonderland Jr. musical that I wrote a preview about in last week’s edition (which I realize I didn’t provide a link to the story in the last recap blog, I will add one for this week’s.)

That was my Tuesday. It was considerably a lot better than Monday in that I wasn’t as severely depressed at not having story ideas, but I was still slightly worried about the no-St. Albert connection for the seniors story, and when I called the transportation spokesman and the city councillor, they weren’t in their offices. (typical).

Still, all in all, Tuesday was a pretty good day. As far as work days go.

Wednesday, May 28:

I got into the office about 20 minutes earlier than I usually would because I knew that the Edmonton city councillor had a council meeting at 9:30AM so I wanted to catch him before then.

When I came into the office I already had 2 messages from the councillor and from the transportation guy. I called them both back before 9AM (which is something I wouldn’t normally do because generally that means I’ll have less to do later in the day and will therefore be extremely bored for the majority of the day), and the city councillor was super helpful, while the transportation guy – not so much.

I don’t blame the transportation guy though, I had targeted the wrong person to ask my questions to and I didn’t figure out who I needed to ask until around lunch time. Then the person wasn’t in, because it was lunchtime, and after lunch when I called, he was in a legislative meeting.

His statement is pretty much the driving force of the taxi story.

I wrote the story anyway, without his statement, and put that he could not be reached before deadline. I think without his statement the story is considerably weaker and maybe not as news-y, but I still got great reaction from two main St. Albert taxi companies, and a good quote from the Edmonton councillor, but a St. Albert councillor or the important guy in the legislative meeting – the St. Albert MLA, would have added a considerable amount of credibility to the story.

Not to say the story isn’t credible, but it turned into more of a ‘What if’ rather than a ‘This could happen in the near future therefore it is newsworthy’, kind of situation.

It is also important to note that I also tried to call 4 different St. Albert city councillors for their opinion on the issue but they all, lo and behold, could not be reached. If you base this day on the fact that I couldn’t get a hold of these important government figures for my story, then my day sucked.

But thankfully today the girl who said she’d look for a St. Albert connection for me for my seniors story came through with an email and a contact number to someone whose going to be presenting at the seniors festival in Edmonton, who comes from St. Albert.


I was pretty stoked.

I did some quick research, came up with questions, called the guy up, and he was really nice and gave me some great quotes!

So originally my craptastic seniors story with like a 5% St. Albert spin turned into a 100% St. Albert story that I’m really happy with, whereas the taxi story which I thought would save my ass for the week, turned out, still nicely written (not to be cocky, I just think I write good ;)), but not as great a news story as say, the bar regulations story I wrote last week.

Wednesday, let us remember, is also laying out the newspaper page day which can also be referred to as Linda Sits and Does Nothing While Waiting for a Computer with a Working InDesign to Become Free, day.

And so it was.

It’s 4:43PM as I write this and I am simply killing time, waiting for one of the other two reporters to leave to cover some sort of sports or council meeting, so I can take over their computer, lay out some pages, and go home as early as I can.

I suppose we can also refer to this day as The Day Linda Writes Her Blog day.

Thankfully last Wednesday it only took me about 30 minutes to layout 4 pages, (technically I was assigned 6 pages but 2 of them were full ad pages and the ads/sales people do the ad layouts).

I’m hoping this week a similar situation arises.

Also: Even though I only have two stories in the paper this week, (hey, better than one, and certainly better than none), some of the pictures I took at Sunday’s Rainmaker Rodeo and carnival will be featured in the paper this week, as well, some of the pictures I took yesterday at the Children’s Festival will also have it’s own little section in the Weekender section of the paper. Yay!

I’m going to say the multiple pictures form it’s own story and therefore I wrote three stories this week. :D Haha.

P.S. I don’t know whose still actually reading this blog, (Actually I can answer that, no one or 1 person if my Blog Stats page is any indication) but I think my days are getting more interesting to read, is that just me thinking that?

P.P.S. I was feeling sick by the end of Wednesday, not sure why, but I didn’t leave the office till abut 8:00PM.

Quoting back from a few paragraphs above when I wrote ‘I’m hoping this week a similar situation arises,’ apparently that was not the case.

Feeling ill plus my head wasn’t really into laying out and thinking of good headlines and things = Wednesday night was not a good night for me.

Thursday, May 29:

I went into the office in the morning and did copyediting as per usual Thursday routine but whatever was bugging me last night carried over into Thursday because by 11:00AM I was feeling awful and since I was done copyediting and would most likely have done nothing for the rest of the day before leaving (except adding to this blog), I asked the editor if I could just head home and rest up and he let me. Yay for nice editors!

Friday, May 30:

Nothing ever really happens on Friday and such was the case for this one. Early day Fridays is what I should start calling it.

ALSO, today was payday.
Which means Linda = Happy.

Thus ends the week.


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