This week I started work as a reporter for the Columbia Missourian as a class. Though, the term class may be misleading seeing as it’s more a job where we just get paid with a grade rather than money. Because who likes money? Not I! I’ll take the grade any day over money!! Completely kidding.
My editors’ first advice was “dive right in.” Well I can’t say that I actually did that. I think if you would picture it in a swimming metaphor, it would look more like I stood on the diving board and looked down (because I’m terrified of heights) and some smart ass kid who was tired of waiting for their turn came and pushed me in so I kind of performed the pencil dive which looked more like a not too painful, but not very beautiful belly flop.
I took on a story, which was more of a topic than a story to be honest, of a Memorial Tree/Bench program. Which is proving to be quite a slow topic to move on, due to me relying on a lot of logistical people to get the main part of the story to even just FIND if there is a story there to report on.
To update any new readers, I just returned from a semester abroad in Italy. When I say “just” I mean literally I came home on June12/13ish *long story that I don’t want to hash out* and had about a week in St. Louis and then moved myself to Columbia Monday to start class on Tuesday. I haven’t read much about culture shock but I think it probably would correlate to a lot of my fears of diving in.
I spent the past five months not understanding or really being able to communicate completely with the majority of people around me. Yes I could get by and speak bare minimum Italian, but FAR less than the communication abilities I am used to. As a result I sort of lived in my own little bubble there which I occasionally left when I could understand and add something to the fast Italian conversations going on around me.
So going from that to being expected to talk to lots of strangers all the time about things they might not want to talk about was QUITE a change. I spent the better parts of Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday pondering my existence as an extrovert and wondering if Italy had changed me to an introvert permanently. This due mostly to my parents obsession with the Myers Briggs Personality exam, which I am labeled an ENTP and my mom is an E but my dad is an I. So they are in a constant battle to prove which one I really am… E (extrovert) or I (introvert). I take pride in my E rating, and so pondering to admit if I really am an I after all made me feel like a complete failure.
But then yesterday when I took a handoff on a short brief about the Eliot Battle funeral which allowed me to get something up on the Missourian site (even if it didn’t involve much work or reporting) allowed me to take a deep breath and remember that I really do enjoy the feeling of reporting.
So although I might not have published anything of substance yet, I know it’s on the way. I am not used to hard “news” reporting. I wanted the Vox beat. I’m just getting back in the swing of things, but I know that I’ll be able to be a hard hitter soon. Although it is hard not to compare myself to others in the newsroom who have already produced several stories, I have to step back and remember that everyone is different and these topics that they are really engaged in just aren’t the topics for me. I don’t have much interest in politics or crime or business reporting, so obviously coming up with ideas for that isn’t going to be as easy for me as a lot of the newsie people in the class.
I could go on and on about my fears for this class but that would be wasting time and I must get back to work!